Preparing to Welcome Freshers
Preparing for university is so important, whether you are sending off young people and helping them to get ready for a new adventure, or you’re making preparations to welcome new students. We believe if a young person connects to a church before they go to university, it could make all the difference. It could help them thrive in their faith, make great friends, and find a place to belong.
Churches can be a home away from home for young people arriving at university. Student Linkup helps young people prepare for university and find a church they can call home. The Student Linkup App allows students to browse and connect with churches in the city they are moving to. Churches registered on Student Linkup get notified whenever a student links up to their city. From this point onwards, the church can begin to get to know that young person, begin praying for them by name and get ready to welcome them to their new city.
We want to see students continuing to grow as disciples, discovering an increasingly independent faith, being trained and supported as missionaries amongst their peers and encouraged to discover what it means to be a part of God’s church family as independent adults. Student Linkup is an amazing opportunity for freshers to find a home in a local church so that they can be cheered on, strengthened, and supported in their faith.
So what does it look like, as a church, to welcome students really well through Student Linkup? For those who manage your church’s linkup profile, here are a few top tips! If your church is currently not on the Student Linkup map, register here.
- When messaging students through Student Linkup, make messages personal and ask good questions, you’re more likely to get a response.
- Pray for the students on your list as they prepare for uni and arrive in a new city.
- Contact the people on your list, and let them know you’re looking forward to their arrival. Students have said that they appreciated knowing someone was ready to meet them, and it was encouraging to hear from churches before leaving home.
- Be encouraging and welcoming, both when messaging and meeting students.
- When connecting with students, aim to communicate in a way to open up conversation rather than sending through information - e.g. ‘Hi, we’re really looking forward to welcoming you to Birmingham, what are you studying?’ rather than ‘Hi, here’s loads of info about our church, let me know if you have any questions’.
- Be aware that you are not the only church on the app - others may also be getting in touch.
- Be respectful towards other churches - the dream is that every student finds a home in a local church and yours may not be the right fit for every student. Consider how you can help students find the best place for them to thrive in the coming years.
- Invite them to key events that are happening in the first few weeks of term – student gatherings, Sunday lunches, social events.
- Offer to go for coffee or a meal with them as well as inviting them to church if you are able, or appoint a student from your church to do so.
Whether sending young people or receiving new students, you have a part to play in seeing a generation respond to Jesus.
1. Prepare young people for university and commission them into the adventure ahead.
2. Pray for this generation of students as they start university, that they will live out their faith and be a light for Jesus on their campus and to their friends.
3. Register your church on Student Linkup and welcome students to find a home in your church.