My name is Andy and I'm a Physicist. Confession over. Well, I was. In what now seems like a former life, I read Physics at Teddy Hall (Oxford) and then did a DPhil thesis in something that I now struggle to even understand the title of!
One of the prophetic images I've been carrying for the student ministry at OCC, is that of a flywheel. I mentioned this recently, and someone (maybe a humanities student?!) said "What is a flywheel?", so I thought I needed to explain what I saw and what I think God is saying.
We are convinced that the gospel works in every people-group, culture and era. In our city, we believe we are called to plant a community for every community - an expression of church in reach of every bus-route, so that people of all nations, tribes, peoples and languages (Rev 7:9) can find a place of worship before God's throne.
This is one of a series of 3 blogs explaining our approach to student ministry. We've talked about being part of a movement, how that connects with Fusion, and in this last blog I want to explain more about our values of 'church-based student mission'.
Our convictions, actually, are not really about just student mission, but mission and ministry in general. We believe that mission and ministry is supposed to be part of the task of the local church, where community, mission, discipleship and worship can be integrated, holistic and sustainable.
I came up to Oxford in 1985. At the time there was little in the way of charismatic, Holy-Spirit-filled life in the church. St Aldates at the time was led by Michael Green (now an elder-statesman in the church, who we are delighted is coming to speak at OCC in the autumn) - one had to queue for entry, such was the level of excitement as Michael led the church in the life of the Holy Spirit. There was a small charismatic house church somewhere in Botley, and an odd, itinerant and therefore hard-to-track-down group of Christians called Oxford Community Church.
Over the summer one of the students - Pip - was camping with my family, while he and they served together in the 7-11s kids work at our UK summer camp. Amidst gunge-tanks, sore muscles and tiredness, Pip and I had a conversation about being a student movement. What on earth do we mean? And how does it differ from a network, denomination or simply the whole global church?
Next week the Salt & Light family hosts its annual meeting of the International Apostolic Team, this time near Kansas City, USA. It's my privilege to be part of these gatherings serving as Team Administrator, supporting Steve Thomas in his overall leadership of that team. Over the years we've had some great times of worship and intercession, discussed a range of fascinating topics, and built strong relationships together across continents and cultures.
In no particular order, here are ten things I'm particularly looking forward to: