We all struggle to take every opportunity to mention Jesus that we could. ’The awkward Jesus moment’ as I call it, creeps up on us all. Whether it’s being asked “what are you up to today?” and it’s a Sunday and you know the truth is you’re off to Church, or whilst getting your haircut, your hairdresser starts moaning about the church and you know you really should speak up for the family in that moment (as was the case with my last haircut!).
No matter how we come across it, we all have an awkward Jesus moment where we know an opportunity has presented itself for you to name-drop the one you follow, the way, the truth, the life.
As young people start fully embracing whichever university they’ve now officially got into, lots of exciting questions spring to mind. Where will I be living? Who will I live with? Will I come across any other Christians as I start uni life? Will I mention my faith at all?
One of the most simple but powerful pieces of advice I can give to any school leaver who is now gearing up to be a fresher, is simply this. Name-drop Jesus within the first 24 hours. Push through your feelings of awkwardness or fear of being disliked or shunned by your new emerging friendship group and mention that you are a Christian, or that you’re checking out new churches, or that you follow Jesus, and do it as soon as you can.
It might sound forced or weird to say that, but I promise you, from on the ground experience of it myself and with countless of other students who have navigated uni following Jesus, getting your faith in at the start makes it a much easier and stronger journey ahead for you. The longer you leave sharing that you have faith in him, the harder it gets to mention Jesus again. Start as you mean to go on, name-drop him and make it normal.
On the first Sunday of my uni life (the day I moved in) I sat with my twelve new housemates at the pub and as we went round the circle saying facts about ourselves, I decided to include that I was a Christian and so was going to check out churches. Then I added that anyone else was welcome to join me if they were interested. It was very low key, not at all confrontational, I started with an inclusive invite and suddenly, our new housemate culture that was being established, included an openness about faith and it being a normal thing to talk about. Good news.
So here’s the challenge new students: name drop Jesus in your first 24 hours. Everyone is out to make friends so you are unlikely to get any harassment back. No fear. Go for it and set a new standard for you and your mates. Jesus is welcome into the conversation and he can take care of himself when he is dropped in there.