Five minutes ago I came off the phone to a new student worker. Having just taken on the role they wanted to chat through what that might look like. I was reminded of the freshness, potential and gravity of church based student work. It was a brilliant start to my new job role.
As with everything in the student world, what is new in student work becomes normal in no time. Every year the freshers arrive and take the world at face value - these communities, these structures, these ways of being must be generations old...the funny thing is, they could have started just one year before; but one year is enough, to new eyes, to become legend, to become normal. Every year we can take a fresh look at how student work can be done well.
Rich Wilson, team leader of Fusion, said he could count on one hand the number of church based student workers in the UK when Fusion started in 1997. This is a young, exciting ministry. We, the church leaders, student workers and students of the UK, are the pioneers. And so the challenge of student work is walked - to both pioneer a culture and to build good foundations which will last.
Potential + gravity
For this is a pivotal time of life. Students can have a massive impact on their friends and their community whilst at university and at the same time are influenced and are laying foundations for a long life of impact. With this reality comes huge responsibility. We have the opportunity to help guide and shape a student’s world. We also need to remember, we’re not the only ones doing that.
For the last three years I have discussed with youth workers this pivotal transition point, full of opportunity and challenge. My student work background has driven my passion for seeing young people prepared well for university life.
Now I’m moving into a new role with Fusion - supporting and resourcing student workers across the UK. Youth workers yearn for someone to connect with their young people on the other side. Now I’ll be working to see that happen - to strengthen that side of the bridge. It has been a great privilege to work alongside literally hundreds of youth workers over these last three years and I will be maintaining some of my Student Linkup responsibilities alongside my new role.
My plea to youth workers is not to give up preparing your young people. Every year. Even if its just one.
My plea to student workers as I start this new role is to remember that church based student work is still being shaped - we’re creating new normals, pushing boundaries. We are willing to try new things to see this generation grasp the fullness that’s on offer to them. It will be a privilege to walk with you and support you as you step beyond what has been and build strong foundations, to see lives transformed with this year’s freshers...and the next...and the next...and the next...
Thank you to all who have supported me, encouraged me and prayed for me over these last three years. Please do pray for me in this new role too.