Something intriguing happened last year. We (Fusion) created a survey to try and find out how the Christian student population spends its time. Partly, we were interested in seeing what options and priorities students have today and how they express their faith in their choices. Partly, we were responding to countless stories and plenty of feedback from students and leaders alike around the busyness of students, the burn out of Christians doing too many 'Christian things' every week and the lack of space and freedom for hanging out with friends who don't know Jesus or even space to just be with God, do their degree work or anything else for that matter.
The response we got during the summer term of 2015 was huge. Over 1300 Christian students described their weekly choices, experiences of church and university society involvement and let us in on how they socialise, where they spend their time and what life looks like for them. The data we've collated has ended up being incredibly useful for churches and leaders in radically assessing how we are making disciples in the student world and it also provides a wake-up call to students and their priorities.
At the start of this new academic year, we wanted to make the student survey results fully public and available to all. We believe these stats are both encouraging in places and deeply challenging in others. For example, around half of the students who are part of a local church at uni do not consider themselves as being discipled by anyone. Since the call of us all is to be disciple-making followers of Jesus, we need to sit up and pay attention to this feedback.
The survey also revealed the Christian presence in bars, clubs and the packed social spaces of university life is very scarce. On average nearly 70% of Christians spend under five hours per week in any of the party spaces that gather student crowds. That's the equivalent of one evening a week. Obviously bars and clubs aren't the only mission field where students congregate but we were surprised at the lack of Jesus-ambassadors in these spaces where the need for the presence of God is undeniable.
Whether you're a parent of students trying to get a glimpse into your kid's world, a youth worker helping your school leavers think through the next stage, a student worker looking to help your students make healthy choices for their discipleship journey as missionaries to their generation, a church leader wondering how many demands the local church can make upon a student's time, or a student yourself, needing to navigate your diary and up for being challenged around how you spend your time and not burn out, we pray these results serve you well.
So please, have a read and share away...