Week 24 - "Why wouldn't you tell your friends?"

Libby is a student in Lincoln. This is her story of inviting friends to church this year…

"I grew up going to church with my mum, and although I got confirmed, I was never that interested in it so stopped going in Year 10. Even though my school held traditional chapel services everyday I’m not sure I thought about God or prayed – I didn’t call myself a Christian and was just going through the motions. When I began Uni I literally never thought about faith.

However, last summer I reconnected with a school friend and she told me all about her experience doing the New Wine Discipleship Year and her plans to do a dance ministry course with a church in America. This caught my interest, and one day when I was dog-sitting my social media was suddenly filled with Christian content. This was despite me never having interacted with this kind of thing before – I even tried to block a few accounts!

After a couple of weeks of this I called my friend and said “girl look at all this, it’s pretty clear isn’t it, where do I start with this whole Jesus thing then?" I started reading the Bible and sent an Instagram DM to a church in Lincoln being like "Hi! I wanna try church..." and the Student Worker replied! We got a coffee together, had a chat, and she gave me a tour of church which was super reassuring.

I eventually decided to go to a service and asked my flatmate to come, and she was like "Uhh sure? Why?", and I explained that I've been wanting to go but hadn't had the courage. Funnily enough, that first service I went to since returning to faith was about inviting people to church. I've been going ever since, and I love telling people about my faith and bringing them along to church! I also love talking with them afterwards, chatting about where they're at with faith and their previous experiences, and talking through any previous misconceptions about Christianity.

I think when you have that relationship with God, and know what Jesus did and how much he loves you, why wouldn't you tell your friends? I have currently invited twenty friends to church, thirteen of whom have already come and another four are planning to do so. What’s interesting is that three of my mates who have come to church were originally nos! It’s incredible how many people are up for coming when I invite them, especially when it’s people you wouldn’t expect to say yes.

One friend I invited, who was initially hesitant about coming to church as she didn’t agree with organised religion, randomly messaged me one Saturday asking 45 different questions about faith, and whilst I said I'll try and answer them I invited her to church again the next day because there would be people there who could answer them better than me! She came along to the service, and afterwards the student worker encouraged me to invite her to the Weekend Away, which I did, and she came and is now a Christian! Another one of my mates who has been coming to church with me since I started going told me she would love to believe in God but just didn't have the time for him, and that she was unsure if she could love him considering her experiences. However, she recently decided that she does believe this, and amazingly she is now a Christian and my Bible Study buddy!

One of the first prayers I ever prayed when returning to faith was asking God just to use me as a vessel, and I'm so grateful that he has used me to invite people to church. You will be surprised how many people will say yes, even those who seem the least likely. If you’re thinking of inviting friends to church don't be afraid of the nos. Your invitation could be the first time that person has thought about faith in years, if ever, allowing them to ask you questions and open doors to conversations about faith. Let God guide you, and it's not as scary as you think!"

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

Ed Earnshaw

Student Mission Coach

Ed’s faith came alive at uni and he loves seeing students grow in boldness and faith. He believes students who have found hope in Jesus can change their campuses and cities, and this is why he is excited that he gets to coach churches and students to embrace lives of mission. 

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