When you get an email that starts with ‘grace and peace in abundance to you’ you know you’re hearing from a legend.
A week later I was sat across from an enthusiastic pastor who church planted to the north ten months ago and now leads a community of around 50 adults and 30-40 children. It still counts itself a small community and its looking to have an impact.
Often, understandably, I hear from smaller churches ‘what can we offer?’ Short on staff, with little to no experience of working with this age group, its easy to see why a different, dynamic and relational ministry seems a daunting challenge. This pastor wasn’t phased though. ‘We are here, and they are on our doorstep, why wouldn’t we do something?’
Across the UK, churches are noticing that on their doorstep is an unreached people group of thousands. The pastor’s church meets in a town with 13,500 students. There’s a lot to be cracking on with and they’re excited to join the party.
Jesus was asked ‘who is my neighbour’? Two individuals passed by a wounded man in Jesus’ story-answer, two men that others might expect to have helped. It was the unlikely one, the one who would not only have been expected to but who had every good reason to pass by that stopped - that showed mercy. The good neighbour is defined by action, not reputation. There may be ‘more likely candidates’ in your town, people might think ‘they’d not be expected to do student ministry, not with their size, resources or experience’; but whether or not you’re a good neighbour to your university is defined by your action, not your reputation.
How could you love your neighbour - the students in your area? What do you have that you could offer? Do you love hospitality? Do you have good essay proof-readers? Are you engaged in your community, with great volunteering opportunities? Every church near a university, no matter what size, experience or resources, can play a part in student mission. With the thousands of students in each university town, as many churches as possible are needed! How could you love your uni?