Students always have a story to tell. Not just a capital-T “Testimony”, but little nuggets of what God is doing in their lives. Maybe a story of answered prayer. Or a bible verse that’s come alive for them. Or a time when they’ve stepped out in faith and seen God show up.
One of the challenges is that these stories stay hidden! In the old days, they might have been shared while drinking coffee at the back of church (good times) but when we lose that face-to-face time, it’s easy for the stories to go unheard.
I believe one of the most helpful things we can do for students is to empower them to share their stories. Partly because it helps them worship God. Partly because it boosts everyone else’s faith. And partly because it’s great practice! If it’s normal to share your stories with your church crew, it’s less scary to share those same stories with your uni mates.
Our student group started something called ‘Student Soundbites’. Once a week, a different student would record a little video, sharing something encouraging – perhaps something God was teaching them, or a story of answered prayer. We’d put it on our Youtube page and WhatsApp group, and all celebrate together (lots of praise hands emojis).
"We don’t expect students to become spiritual giants overnight. Instead, we give them opportunities to take one small, brave step out of their comfort zone..."
Some videos were less than a minute, others turned into mini-sermons. We caught sight of people’s messy/immaculate bedrooms and heard big and small stories of God at work. One guy talked about experiencing God through nature. Someone else described finding freedom from comparison.
It was amazing to hear the stories, but for me, the real win was seeing people’s confidence grow. Some of the students would never have stood up in church and shared a testimony (way too scary) but were bold enough to tell a camera how much they love Jesus. I was super proud of them.
For me, empowering students is often about giving them the next step. We don’t expect students to become spiritual giants overnight. Instead, we give them opportunities to take one small, brave step out of their comfort zone:
“Not ready to run a small group? How about you lead the icebreaker this week…”
“Not ready to be a prayer warrior? How about praying for one friend regularly…”
“Not ready to share your faith on campus? How about a one minute video…”
When they take that step, we encourage them like crazy! Then we ask, "Ok, what’s the next step?"
- Written by Hannah, a Student Worker in St Alban's