Thursday, 1 October 2009

Reaching university subcultures

One of the things I am passionate about is encouraging CU students to be strategic and to reach students in those subcultures who appear to be the very 'hardest' reach with the gospel in their local settings.

When I say this, I'm not saying that CU students should just ignore the pre-existing opportunities that they have in evangelism already; rather, that they should think carefully about how they can best serve the church through engaging with those only realistically reached through CU outreach.

Sometimes some churches in student towns can put on a 'guest service' that will attract a certain type of student - most often those who have come from a Christian or religious background; whether that is lapsed Christians, nominal Christians, those who have attended chapel at school - and so on. Of course, the Holy Spirit blows where he wants as his word is proclaimed, but - without partnership with the CU - church-based student evangelism is often relatively ineffective at reaching others.

I have taken to asking CU leaders to identify those groups or subcultures on campus that they consider that only the CU can realistically reach, with their privileges of contact, access and student-run evangelism. I've been asking Christian students to isolate those groups who wouldn't even consider or have the opportunity to enter the doors of a local church without prior CU contact. It's been quite eye-opening: at many universities it's Muslims, hard-core clubbers and those in private halls of residence. Chatting to a fourth year Durham student yesterday, he identified members of the Conservative club and non-Christian theology students.

I love it when CUs think strategically about reaching their campuses. I love it when local churches encourage their students to think this way, and set them free to be 'missionaries' within the university.


Alison Joy Young said...

Thanks for this! Very thought-provoking!

peterdray said...

cheers Alison!