Student Mission Legacies: C.T. Studd and the Cambridge Seven

The Student Mission story is always unfolding. With every new story of salvation and answered prayer, there is another story of someone committing to pray to see a move of God in the student generation. Some of these stories are hundreds of years old, with people whose names we may not know, making a huge impact on the student mission narrative we are a part of today. To highlight the story you're a part of, we're sharing some stories from years before. Check out this one below. 

In the 19th century, cricketers were heralded as the sporting stars of the day. One such individual heralded for his ability with the bat was C.T. Studd, who would trade it all in to follow a greater calling on his life. Many years earlier, a missionary doctor in China named Harold Schofield had fallen to his knees in prayer to see more volunteers commit to a life of evangelism in the region. This unglamorous life was a world away from what Studd was used to, but in 1884 he and six other missionaries set sail for China. The Cambridge Seven, as the name would suggest, largely derived from the University of Cambridge, with one exception having studied at the Royal Military Academy.

Their origin story is wonderfully familiar to those studying today. Stanley Smith was a part of the rowing team, where he met Montagu Beauchamp. They started attending prayer meetings together. Another member of the rowing team became interested in what they were up to. Enter, stage right, William Cassels. One of their other mates from the rowing team had a little brother named Dixon Hoste. Beauchamp introduced Smith to one of his childhood friends, the aforementioned C.T. Studd. Studd’s brother invited Arthur Polhill-Turner to a revival meeting in their second year of study, and the Holy Spirit moved so powerfully through the young man that he was compelled to go to his younger brother Cecil Polhill-Turner and bring him into the fold as well. Through the story of how the seven came to be, we can see both the power of relational ministry, and also the similarities to how our friendships form today as back then. 

As members of Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission, these men, with their education, leadership skills, and reliance on God, would transform the lives of up to a million Chinese nationals, catapult the work of the CIM into international prominence. An American named Robert Wilder was so moved by their efforts that he established the Student Volunteer Movement, an organisation that would send thousands of university students on mission all over the globe. 


Fusion Team

The vision of Fusion is to see every student have the opportunity to find hope in Jesus and home in the local church during their time at university. Written by the Fusion Team & friends of Fusion, the Fusion blog is full of tips, resources, and stories that will equip and inspire you to play your part in the student mission narrative.