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“We spent yesterday planning the next term, praying into it and getting excited. And then the plans have to change, again. It’s frustrating and discouraging.”
I wonder if you’re reading this, feeling the same. Student workers and church leaders around the country are readying themselves for the return of students to their cities with blueprints of how they can best serve the Freshers of 2020. The plans are made, and then changed, and then changed again. We feel the frustration with you, and yet, we want to offer some hope in uncertainty.
Student mission has been redefined for the 2020 climate. Large scale events are stripped back to small groups of six, and for many of us, our student work feels shaken. But this year we have been presented with an opportunity like none before, and permission to strip back our student work to reflect the heart of discipleship.
In Acts 2, we see the Early Church spring into action.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
The simplicity of the Early Church established healthy rhythms and foundations for believers: generosity, prayer, thankfulness, worship, an outward focus.
Whether in groups of 6, 12 or 72, the believers shared all things in common. They surrendered their possession and lived lives centred around generosity. They learned to worship in all circumstances. They were the original small group.
Acts 2 shows us that small groups are not a new idea. The church began with a small group, and even now, with restrictions in place, we get to learn the lessons of the Early Church.
As students flood back to university cities, your small groups can become a place of belonging. Events, run by the university, the church, or the city may be restricted or canceled. But small groups are not.
As we look forward to Freshers week, our prayer is that you’d do so in anticipation of how the Father will surprise you in leading His children back to the local church. Don’t give up the planning. Don’t give up interceding. Don’t cancel small groups. They may be just the vehicle to welcoming students home.