Dear Church Leader,
Wow! What a lot has changed!
Thank you for being a church leader that is still keen to think creatively about student mission. How we love and disciple them has been and will be so different to the past. What it means to be a student member of a church is different. Who is watching online? Who checks in from their parents’ house? How many freshers will we get next year? Will they even be in person then? There are so many questions!
At Fusion, we are here to help, encourage and equip your church as you continue to navigate these uncharted waters.
It can be hard to know how to support your student worker. They will have different priorities and different measures of success. They are going to need help thinking creatively. They will be wondering how to connect with students and asking lots of questions. What sort of gatherings are going to be helpful and when? How much emotional support can they offer students? How can they work with and support the university? Will they have any current students left in the autumn or will they have all graduated? They will want to know if you think they are doing a good job or not.
In all of this, your student worker may well be overwhelmed. They may have had to adapt and become an online video producer, social media expert, zoom counsellor, mental health expert and many other things. This might leave them wondering if this is what they’ve signed up for. You can help them so much by giving them space to express where they are at. Help them see that a calling to reach students is about people not tasks. Their “to do” list and their annual goals might have changed, but the heart is still to help students follow Jesus Christ. They are going to need to be valued by you for what they do. They may feel like they are being ineffective and unproductive, even when they are working hard. They need your voice encouraging them to keep going and reassuring them that they are doing well.
Here is the kicker. You may need to do this even when you are not receiving the support and encouragement that you need personally. Being a church leader can be a lonely place, can’t it? It can feel like everyone lets you know when something goes wrong and no one says anything when it goes well. And yet, we are called to look after our sheep because we are following Jesus, the good shepherd. I want to encourage you to give to others, what you were not given as a younger leader. Be the person who starts a new narrative of encouraging and releasing our younger leaders.
As you help your student worker redesign the student work in your church, do encourage them to connect with the training we offer as Fusion. Could it be a good time for them to explore a Graduate Diploma in theology and student work? We do this with WTC. Maybe it is just knowing that we are available on the other end of a phone. We have team of wonderful people who want to support your student worker too.
I pray blessing on you and your church this year, that you may know the closeness of the Holy Spirit as you pioneer, the saving grace of Jesus as you preach the good news to students and the approval of your loving, heavenly father throughout it all.