80 more down, 1,300 to go.
We've only been at the New Wine LSE festival for 3 days and already we've connected 80 school leavers to churches in their uni towns. We already also have over 600 linked up by youthworkers, schools workers and online. Our aim is to connect 2,500 by the end of the summer. Imagine that - 2,500 missionaries connected to churches and sent off to live lives of mission and adventure.
It's amazing how hungry parents, youth workers and the young people themselves are for help over this transition.
Amazing, but not surprising. This is an exciting but also challenging time. Most of our team have been moved to tears already this week by conversations with parents whose kids didn't make it.
One Mum told us with a heavy heart how her daughter went to uni keen to find a church but didn't get along to one early on and how her mum then watched her move further and further from God until a year later she'll hear none of it. Another shared her sorrow over her son, now nearly 30 and still uninterested ten years after he lost his faith at uni.
Uni is a great opportunity to explore new ideas, lifestyles and friendships. It's also a place where you need to pursue for yourself those things you love. We need to be helping our young people to launch into lives of fierce curiosity, friendship and pursuit. God has amazing plans for them, university is a great opportunity to step into independence and live life to the full.
Alongside these stories of loss sit the well exciting stories - the woman who ran up to us and said 'I just want to thank you, my daughter signed up last year and is now totally plugged in to one of the churches you connected her to. Thank you!' The fresher who took his housemate to church on the first Sunday where he decided to follow Jesus. The young woman who saw two friends meet Jesus in her first year through a weekend away and Student Alpha at her church. The thousands of students living for Jesus every day, in the power of the Spirit, on campuses across the UK.
Do you know someone who is going to uni this September? Please think hard. Don't be complacent about their faith - act to strengthen, to encourage and to inspire them to persevere and soar as they leave home. Paul tells us to 'not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing', let's help our young people to follow that advice and make the most of uni life with a community of believers there.
Please send this link to any young people you know who are going to uni this year and we'll introduce them to churches and other christian freshers in the new uni towns: www.studentlinkup.org
Here's to the 2,500!