Week 12 - All students or just the Christian ones?

Student numbers in all churches go in ebbs and flows. Christian students can flock to what seems like the best church at the time. Maybe it has a reputation for the best preaching, great worship, small groups or community vibe. We have learned that we cannot rely on being the flavour of the month in order to grow with students. 

We started this year with hardly any students. Well, two actually and one of them was a mature student! So we knew we had to be intentional to grow. We found it difficult to connect to any Christian freshers through Student Linkup or the CU church search. Christian students seemed to have already made up their minds that they were going to one of the big churches in the city. 

This pushed us to ask God how we could reach other students. We realised that there were 25,000 other students who weren’t Christian and didn’t go to church. Maybe this would be a good place to start! 

Since fresher's week, we have been out in the university areas praying for a blessing on all students. We have been asking God to point out who we should invite to church. A small group of student evangelists have joined our church and they have been on their own campus talking to anyone and everyone about Jesus. One student just starts the conversation by saying “have you heard about Jesus yet?” She says that about 90% of students want to talk and they have great conversations about Jesus. 

We also prayed for connections with international students and since then we have made all sorts of connections with international students and invited them. This week, our small group hosted a dinner for ten international students. We didn’t know any when we set out with this vision a few weeks ago! We have met people in supermarkets, in car parks and walking to town. 

Our learning has been that students are spiritually open, keen for friendship and interested in trying church. We are going to continue to invite all students to meet Jesus and not just try to connect with Christian students. Let me encourage you to do the same. 

Every week of the academic year, we are sharing a story of student mission. If you have a story to share, let us know.

Luke Smith

National Team Leader (England & Wales)

Luke has worked with students in church for 20 years. He loves helping churches figure out how to reach students. He leads the Fusion team to keep them sharp and focused as they serve the local church.

Partner with Luke