The Student Mission Awards took place on the 15th February 2018 in central London, celebrating excellence and creativity in student mission. We had so much fun gathering students, student workers and friends of Fusion for an evening of story sharing and celebration. Thank you to all who attended the awards and supported the event. It was an awesome opportunity to bring glory to God through celebrating the boldness of students and the diversity in how people have sought to see the Kingdom of God come in their locations.
Take a look below to read some inspiring stories of student mission and see who was awarded grants to invest in their local church's student work.
As we live much of our lives online, the need to engage with people digitally is fundamental. This award is for digital missionaries.
Josh was hungry to see more of the prophetic amongst students so he ran a prophetic training night and included a very simple activity; text an encouragement. Everyone picked a contact at random from their phone and prayed for a word of knowledge or encouragement to text to them. This activity kickstarted conversations about faith and some people have come to church through it.
Abi & Just Love Manchester released a video for a summer campaign called My Sustainable Summer which encouraged students to think about fast fashion. This campaign engaged thousands of student and got them thinking about the importance of ethical living.
Nikki is responsible for the Hope City Sheffield Instagram account and helps generate challenging, engaging and interesting content to both build community and reach out to people in the digital space. In a world where students spend increasing amounts of time on social media, it is vital that churches lead the way in creating excellent content that stands out in a crowded newsfeed.
The Belfrey York created a video based on #TryChurch asking students when the last time they went to church was. It’s a brilliant conversation starter on campus and a great tool to invite students to church for the first time.
An award for students who have demonstrated a heart for the poor and needy in their cities. For those who recognise the call to live for Jesus at uni takes us beyond our campuses, and into our city street.
Jackie has been a Christian less than a year and is spearheading student ministry to the homeless in Edinburgh, partnering with two different ministries. She’s fasting the comfort of her bed; sleeping on the floor of her room as she prays for a shift in homelessness in her city and says if they don’t get a bed then neither does she.
The June Project is an opportunity for students to give back to their university city; practically demonstrating Jesus’ love through a variety of projects. These include practical maintenance; baking and giving out free cakes; offering free massages and henna; evening entertainment; and offering prayer. 90 students from 6 churches give up their time to serve through the week.
Spending a whole week in the communities of Durham blessing people and telling them about Jesus. This project engages the whole church in mission to reach out to the community in words, works & wonders. June Project acts as a catalyst to see students stay in Durham post-university, in order to invest in the town.
Hannah has joined and now leads Just Love Oxford's homeless outreach, where teams of students from churches across Oxford give food and practical items to their homeless friends, twice a week. They minister to people's emotional and spiritual needs; through prayer and genuine conversation, which bring hope through the power of relationships and the presence of God.
Freshers isn’t just about how many Christian students we can get into our churches, but about welcoming all freshers to try church amidst the chaos of freshers’ week. This award is for all those who have done exactly that.
The team at Christ Church Spitalfields welcomed Freshers to London by helping on move in days and hosting a silent disco and welcome picnics. They met one particular girl when helping students move into halls who now comes to church regularly; she has found friendship and attended Alpha. Ellie saw a growth from 1 to 20 in their student ministry in a few weeks which was a direct answer to prayer, as she had been praying for 20 committed Freshers.
Matt arranged teams of park pastors to serve students every night of Rose Bruford Freshers’ week. Armed with jetpack like hot chocolate dispensers, they stood outside the halls of residence and greeted the partygoers with warm drinks. This was a great moment of unity as churches and the CU came together to serve, chat to and pray for local drama students.
During Freshers’ week St Swithun's hosted a party with a DJ, live music, beer, food and Inflatables. 100 students came to the party including a significant number of non-Christian students. It changed their perception of church and God; many of the students didn’t know that the church could produce such an enjoyable event.
Realising that mental health issues and loneliness were on the rise at Napier University, and as a Christian on the welfare team, Tamsyn suggested partnership with churches could be the solution. This year, as part of the Uni’s freshers week inductions Tamsyn was invited to 'pitch church' to all the new freshers in the welcome lecture. Here, she invited students to church; to Alpha and to access their church’s counselling service.
An estimated 20% of the students in the UK are classified as internationals, and this award recognises those who are engaging most effectively with their fellow students from all around the world.
Nahum has a huge heart for Manchester’s 18,000 international students and has led many of the international outreach events at Vinelife Church. He hosted events including English tea & scones, cultural food exchanges and prayer walks. As a result of Nahum's outreach, many fringe international students found a home in the church and non-Christians tried church for the first time.
City Life Church Portsmouth & Friends International ran an International student welcome meal during Fresher’s week. This is the third year they have run this event to welcome international students to the UK. Each year they have over 100 students come for food, entertainment, games & raffle. It’s a great opportunity to introduce students to church and pray over the students as they settle into Portsmouth.
Frances and the iCafé team took a group of international students to a local orchard to make apple juice, with a short gospel talk afterwards linked to how the Chinese word for peace is similar to the word for apple. The team are trusting that the trip will bear fruit in relationships and gospel opportunities.
Joel has pioneered missional community in seeking to engage with the thousands of overseas students in Manchester. During international welcome week they saw nearly 10% of the 700 students who came early to the city to learn English, attend their welcome cafe and they have befriended many students of different cultural and faith backgrounds, seeking to introduce them to the bible and the person of Jesus.
Pilgrims, not tourists. Mission, not city break. Revival, not survival. This award celebrates remarkable stories of mission and prayer from the faith adventure that is Escape and Pray.
This team went to Budapest and within minutes were singing and praying over the city centre. They connected with YWAM, got involved in a sandwich run for the homeless and visited Parliament to pray over the country’s leaders. They made a Facebook live video at the end of each day, which was viewed by all their non-Christian friends, who saw their passion for Jesus and hear of the way God provides for his people.
Before going on Escape and Pray, this team wrote a list of things they wanted to see happen on their trip; worshipping on the streets of Barcelona was on the list. The team borrowed a guitar from a guy who’d approached them about their T-shirts, and worshipped there and then. Halfway through the song Sam noticed that their non-Christian friend was being prayed for and having psalms read over her, whilst the guy who lent the guitar was hearing the gospel. The team now write down things they want to see happen each week and let God do his thing. He never disappoints!
This team decided not to make any connections before arriving Gothenburg, Sweden; to see what God would do. After a long day praying they thought they were spending the night sleeping in a park, but ended up walking past a group of people singing worship songs, so joined them and shared stories. They spent time worshipping on the streets and praying for healing. God healed a number of people and one girl gave her life to Jesus!
In Frankfurt, Germany, this Escape and Pray team prayed for peace and protection over street parties and protests. They engaged with an extremist group of Christians who were shouting at members of an Islamic rally, they had an opportunity to pray for them and help de-escalate a volatile situation. They invited the Prince of Peace into Frankfurt and witnessed Him change the atmosphere.
This one's for the dreamers and schemers. Give us your best idea for a bold and exciting new missional activity and we will sponsor you to make it happen.
Funmi wants to transform her church venue into ‘Hair, Beauty & Soul’, a free pop up salon. She would run this on a popular student club night, offering a free hair & beauty service before their night out. Funmi sees this as a creative way to engage students with her church family, creating a space for deep conversation where God’s story can be shared.
Graduate Rebekah wants to use her psychology degree and training to run academic stress workshops for students and see local church partner with nearby uni’s. “Jesus has won our freedom through the cross. My vision and heart behind the workshops is for students to be able to live in that freedom - free from stress, striving and anxiety. It encourages students to come into church, a place where they feel safe and supported.”
Holly wants to invite students to encounter Jesus on mission, serving a community overseas over a week with their Christian friends. “Given the stories that are coming out of our students living for Jesus, the Holy Spirit is at work in a powerful way, and we are prayerfully pursuing this as we feel it is something that we are being prompted to do. It would be an adventure that the friends of our students would be really interested in.”
Jono is looking to host quarterly arts and makers markets at his church, to create community for local art students, and help them sell their work. 2,000 students live in the neighbourhood, a lot of whom are at University of the Arts London. “We think [art and makers markets] could be a great way of building community and bringing the proverbial walls down between the church and London students.”
This award is all about those who act first and think later. Ideas that come from asking ‘why not?’ and then going and doing.
Sam had a vision of students sleeping in a cave, looking out at sea and the stars, and praying for other students to come to faith. When he shared this vision with students at Coastline Vineyard, 25 students wanted to join him on the adventure. This adventure took students out of their comfort zone and showed them what being a follower of Jesus looked like in an accessible and fun way.
Sam and Aoife lead a team of students in outreach in Manchester. Each Wednesday they gather to practice sharing the gospel. They head onto campus at 10pm, armed with a clear way of sharing the gospel; key questions like 'do you feel near or far from God?' and ready to pray for as many students as possible . They take sweets, bottles of water, encouragement cards and tea and coffee to give to students. They have seen students start coming to church, one of whom has become a Christian.
One night when Georgia was playing truth or dare on a residential, the dare came up: 'say something mean about the person next to you'. In tune with the Holy Spirit, Georgia decided to challenge the tone and change the atmosphere; suggesting the importance of encouraging and building each other up, sowing peace and positivity in an arena of discouragement. Georgia had an idea and gave it a go, living out her ‘Let Me Experience’ Mission Style in her striving for encouragement.
Hazel helped St Barnabas Church put on a cross-church, Club Mission outreach for Halloween. The team prayed and worshiped for two hours before going out to serve students at the SU. The Union let the team have a whole floor to just hang out and serve people and the SU event leader and door staff loved it, with the students who helped out left encouraged and excited, having taken a risk in faith.
This award celebrates missional activities that help people realise that Jesus makes a difference in practical ways. Show me people see needs and they meet them.
Lois befriended Ruby on the first day of uni and chatted to her about volunteer opportunities. She introduced her to her local church homeless community project, where Ruby got plugged in serving, went on an Alpha course and a church mission trip. Through a discipling friendship that modelled practical mission in a perfect display of the ‘Show Me’ style, Lois saw Ruby give her life to Jesus.
During exam time Anna got permission from the university for ENC students to go onto campus each day and give out coffee and pastries as students were going to and from the library and exams - right in the centre of campus! This is a practical way to serve students at a difficult time & show God’s love through service.
In September while prayer walking, the Holy Spirit nudged Josh, Tilly, Liv & Pippa to put on a feast for the community. 50 people came for the feast; the homeless, the elderly, students, residents all together to share a meal. God even worked through the leftovers; one student took home some of the spare food which got her housemate chatting about church and asking if she could come to church with her on Sunday.
Pancakes, hydration and Jesus on a night out! Nikhil leads a team of students from Hope City Leeds who do club mission under the banner of 'Red Frogs'. They go into one of the big nightclubs every week, and make pancakes on a hot plate in the smoking area. They have brilliant conversations with lots of people about faith, breaking down people's preconceptions of church and Christianity.
This award celebrates missional activities that engage with those who love the big debates, discussions and research.
Jos began 'prayer and a pint' with his rugby club at uni. Jos invited the lads over to his house weekly on a Tuesday for some food, drinks, and to look at the Bible together. This caught on with the rugby lads, and gave the guys a brilliant opportunity to explore faith, voice their thoughts and ask questions they probably wouldn't get to otherwise.
Ben decided to use his ‘Convince Me’ mission style to spark conversations about Jesus on campus. He went into the Students Union to find people he could sit and chat with, he then provoked conversations by asking questions like 'was Jesus a scientist?'. This sparked some great discussions and got people talking and thinking about who Jesus is.
Mollie created a relaxed space for students to discuss the hot topics of university including 'Joining The Fast Lane', 'Something & Tonic?' & 'Image is Everything'. Using a Q&A format students were able to ask their burning questions and get honest answers with a godly perspective. Each week they had roughly 40 students coming to join the discussion.
Emily recommitted her life to Jesus at uni and since has been looking for opportunities to share Jesus with her coursemates. She uses her ‘Convince Me’ mission style to discuss tough questions with her course mates and share the gospel with her Muslim friends, she has seen great discussions and one student has given their life to Jesus.
This award recognises the best and brightest ways of connecting with people who enjoy a good conversation and personal connection. Talk with me people respond to relationship, story and testimony.
Lizete designed an interactive stand for a uni 'Wellbeing Fair' on Mental Health Day. Using creative stations they engaged with the themes of identity and hope; students could swap a photo of themselves for a truth about how God sees them. They also were able to offer prayer. This stand spoke into some of the difficulties that students face, and invited them to know more of God.
Emmie decided to do 40 days of encouragement and prophecy for lent last year. On Pancake Day, she wrote down a list of names of people in her life that God had put on my heart, folded them in half and threw them in a biscuit tin. Every day she made time to sit down with God, pick out a name, pray over the person and see what God wanted her to talk to them about.
Danny and Frontline students went onto campus with donuts and a box for prayer requests. Giving out donuts and asking if people would like prayer for anything opened up deep conversations.They were able to pray for lots of people on the spot and many others indirectly through the honest prayer requests left in the box.
Lauren plays for the uni rugby team and over the past year, she’s seen many of her team mates coming to church. Often her teammates are inviting themselves before she gets a chance to and Lauren is now running an Alpha course specifically for her teammates. Her faith and attitude on and off the pitch has been recognised by her team mates, who have noticed that there is something different about her.