So you may have been away this summer at some kind of Christian camp or festival, like Newday, Soul Survivor and returned with a passion to set up/lead a Christian Union at your school or college.
If you have, that’s awesome!
I felt that same enthusiasm throughout my first year at college, and ended up co-leading our college’s CU (Christian Union) from 2016-2017. Despite only having a year’s experience, I learned a few lessons along the way and would love to encourage you if you are in the same position. Here are a few of my tips to help you along the way…
- Don’t expect it to be plain sailing.
Being a person that loves to have vision for the future, I often forget that anything successful needs to have time and effort to make it a success. Problems can range from being relatively minor (like finding a suitable room) to needing to find a new leader or dealing with a pastoral issue. Be encouraged, good things never came that easy! Just keep going.
- Put yourself out there.
Make sure people know that there is a CU that exists! This will look different for every CU depending on your school environment, but be creative! Make posters, hand out freebies, create a stall at your Fresher’s Fayre, and be active on social media. Be open and chat to people you encounter in your lessons or lunch breaks about the purpose of the CU and don’t be afraid to invite them along! If you have a passion for your CU, people will quickly catch on and do the same!
- Be creative.
Something that we really tried to emphasise was making the CU fun, interesting and something people could look forward to each week. Practically speaking, this meant that we always had free food, invited various guest speakers in, held worship and prayer sessions and got involved in social justice projects (like sending Christmas shoeboxes to Romania), and held socials in town. Allow people to make good friendships and form bonds – it makes for a good, welcoming atmosphere and is the very essence of building fellowship with Christians who may not be from your church or denomination.
- Check out resources open to you.
There are organisations set up in order to equip CU’s in schools such as Fusion or UCCF – take a look at their websites and see if they have anything that would work for you. Also check out whether your home church(s) would provide you with money and prayer in order to get involved with your mission at school.