Our Guest Blogger this week is Student Worker Matt Lewis, who reflects on what the local churches in Guildford did at the start of this term to connect students into church. Steal their ideas...get off to a flying start...
I don't know about you, but Freshers often looms in the void of summer (at least in student work it feels like a void) and as a team of student workers from local churches we get our heads together and wonder what to do come September/October.
For the last couple of years we have put together a directory of the local churches - with the adventurous name of 'Guildford Church Directory for Students' which you can download here: www.matrixtrust.com/studentteam - which we then hand out at Freshers' Fayre. This year, with a team of volunteers from local churches, we dished out 2500 of these directories in fresher packs (which included sweets!). Unfortunately, there were a few mistakes in the directory, but these have enabled a better measure of how many students use this resource to find a church (a few students turned up late to one church due to a miss-printed start time!).
Other than the business of Freshers' Fayre the week itself held many oppurtunites to meet students, most of which were in the Prayer Caravan - a big red caravan we put on campus for the week manned by people from local churches. While the focus was to pray for students on campus, many poked their head in to ask what was going on or ask any questions they had. It was a great way of listening to students, realising their needs and troubles, whilst building bridges between the university and local churches.
One thing we'd discussed as a team was how to communicate better about the students we meet, hearing who is going to which church in order to pick up anyone who falls off the radar. That, and working closely with the student groups on campus and Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM), remains the focus for the rest of the term now. It's gonna be a blast!
I'd encourage everyone, wherever you are, to pray for all at university now - and not just the new students or the university you are near. We all have something we are able to give away and that is our prayers! This is such an important time in people's lives and with the growing anxiety in our economic and political climate we need our graduates, some who will become our future leaders, to be influenced by Christ.