We hope you're having a fantastic holiday so far! If you're a fresher who's investigating OCC, if you're away from home for a while, or if we don't have your address, then you won't have had the actual letter that we sent out about a week ago. What follows is the letter we sent out (minus the exciting goodies).
This last year at OCC has been a really exciting one: God has spoken words to us as a church about upgrade, we've seen a real shift in the worship culture and evangelistic confidence of the Church, and we've seen a growing trickle of people coming to faith!
Caroline and I have also been really encouraged by all that has happened amongst the students at OCC. We've spent time worshipping and praying together; on the Student Weekend Away, we got to explore what it might look like to really do mission together; we've run a student Alpha course; and excitingly we've seen students born again on Sundays, in homes and university faculties, and through the Alpha course.
So there's great cause for celebration! But I also wanted to write to you about where we're going.
God calls individuals, but he also calls teams. A key part of our calling as OCC is to be an 'apostolic hub' - a training base from which people can be sent all over the world to serve the Kingdom of God - planting and supporting churches, sending teams to unreached people groups, and seeing people go into the world of work to be God's ambassadors there. So as God has connected you with us, that connection comes with an invitation to be part of this corporate calling too. Does that sound exciting to you as it does to me? This is God's Kingdom growing, and we get to be part of it together!
What does this mean practically? OCC will always to be a place for students to find close and loving community, but we also want to refocus on the 'apostolic' calling we share. Alongside regular student nights, we'll be running a 'student huddle' - a group aimed at growing Christian character and leadership - and we're also planning a number of targeted opportunities for people to explore the call of God on their life through trips within the UK and overseas. Lastly, there will be specific training opportunities around theology and gifting to help you to grow in existing areas of interest and to explore new ones too.
This feels like a new chapter in our history, one in which many of the promises we've been carrying as a student body start to come in sight.
I'm also really excited to announce that Andy and Ruth O'Connell are joining the team - many of you will have spent good amounts of time at their house already. They bring a huge amount of expertise and wisdom of student ministry, especially in the area of training and equipping, but they also bring a huge amount of love and care. We're really excited to be working alongside them. We also expect to see others added to the team over the summer.
A couple of specifics:
- We'd like to invite you to a pre-term weekend from Friday evening of 29 Sep to Sunday lunch on 1 Oct. We will accommodate and feed you all, but we would really love to get some quality time together to understand each other's vision and pray together that God continues the upgrade during 2017-18.
- We'd love it if you would be part of our outreach with freshers. You will all know that the first few weeks of term are critical for new students, and together we want to extend God's welcome to Christian and non-Christian freshers. It would be wonderful if you could be available to help out on the Freshers' Fair stand (Wed-Fri of 0th week), but even more importantly be welcoming to those who are coming up to Oxford looking for a Church, and extend an invitation to anyone who is seeking Jesus!
It would be great if you could you get back to me (Al) on those two things please (you have my contact details!) It's super-helpful to hear about your involvement earlier rather than later, so we can plan accordingly.