Thursday, 26 June 2008

Some thoughts on University #2 - Witnessing

I finished university a couple of weeks back so I thought I would share some thoughts on university and how it has affected me. If you're at uni or starting uni in the Autumn, please listen to my advice!

I'm working in a school at the moment. It's great fun and a real eye opener. One of the things that has been really hard is sharing the gospel in a different work context. I've had a few opportunities to talk about what I believe with some of the other students that are doing the same placement as me, but I've not had any with the proper teachers, and this is a little bit annoying. One of the things that I've noticed that has harmed my witness to the teachers is when I see pupils who are Christians acting no differently to the other pupils by misbehaving in class and being rude to the teachers.

I remember one of my friends at church, a retired lecturer at the university, telling me of how frustrating it was for him to try and share the gospel with his colleagues and then for them not to take the gospel seriously because they'd come into contact with Christian students who had been a bad witness.

One of the reasons I'm not going to focus in too much on what the Christian boy at my school did is because I realise I've been absolutely no different.

At university, I wasn't a great witness to my teachers. I know of other Christian lecturers in the department wanting to share the gospel with their colleagues and how frustrated they must be when they saw me not handing in work, not trying hard in class, not treating my studies properly. I wasn't a terrible student, and I didn't do these things all the time, but I didn't study properly for the whole three years.

I think we as students can become so obsessed with being good witnesses to our fellow students that we can forget that the teaching staff need the gospel too. It might not be us that actually gets to share the gospel with them, but the way we act and treat our studies can have a bearing on whether those lecturers take the gospel seriously or not when they hear it.

Titus 2 talks of how good behaviour can "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour" (2:10). It's not a replacement for sharing the gospel, but the way we act can underline the gospel. Conversely, the way we act can cause the word of God to be reviled (2:5) which is quite worrying really.

It's so important to remember, so I will say it again, whilst acting properly is not a replacement for the gospel, it can underline the gospel and if we're not acting properly, we can even cross it out.

So, what do I want you to remember? If you're a student, I'd really urge you to learn from my mistakes and take my advice: you can be a great witness to your teachers through the way you treat your work and your studies, so study hard, hand things in on time, don't lie and treat lecturers with respect!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Eek. Unintended blog silence

Sorry! I've been rubbish at writing here in the past few weeks. After a complaint by one of my loyal readers, this is going to change :P

Some Thoughts on University #1 - Get stuck in to a Christian Union!

I finished university a couple of weeks back so I thought I would share some thoughts on university and how it has affected me. If you're at uni or starting uni in the Autumn, please listen to my advice!

When I started university I wasn't particularly serious as a Christian. I had been a Christian for my whole life, but it wasn't particularly important to me. Now that I have finished university, I can look back and safely say I have grown beyond my wildest dreams (or fears!) as a Christian over the past three years. My faith has deepened, my awe of God increased, my wonder at the Gospel greater.

I have no doubt that this is 100% down to the grace of God. But he has been working through the Christian Union at my university in doing this.

If I hadn't gone there, I would be much worse off:
  • I wouldn't have seen great Christian students living their lives for Jesus and been inspired to do the same.
  • I wouldn't have had the opportunities to grow as a leader and take the responsibility that comes with it. I wouldn't have made so many great Christian friends and had the joy of seeing them grow as leaders and evangelists and their love of God increase.
  • I wouldn't have had the amazing teaching from the Bible that I'm so fortunate to have had by some of the best speakers in the country.
  • I wouldn't have had the opportunity to try out evangelism with some really passionate student evangelists and learn from them and be inspired by them.
  • I wouldn't have had the joy of being part of a small non-believer's Bible study group and see one of the people come along place their hope for salvation in Christ.

In a nutshell, I would have missed out! Christian Unions are fantastic. If you are at university or starting university please join one and if you are part of one, but don't attend it regularly, please start attending!

As with most Christian things, you won't get much out of your CU if you don't serve it. My advice is to throw yourself in and help out! Here are some of the many things you could do:
  • Help lead an evangelistic Bible study!
  • Do some first contact evangelism!
  • Befriend and welcome international students!
  • Start a prayer group with some other Christians and pray for your non Christian mates!
  • Put on an evangelistic dinner!
  • Help the CU when it puts on evangelistic events!
  • Start a Christian book reading group with CU friends!
  • Help run your hall group!
  • Welcome freshers in September!
I hope and pray that you will do something and that through your involvement in a CU, you too will grow throughout your time at uni!