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.
Prayer for the Harvest
Father, please send workers into the harvest field, for the harvest is plentiful. Give us compassion and faith LORD as we go. Encourage us to be active in sharing our faith, so that we will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (Matthew and Philemon)
When I was in my early twenties, I took on mentoring a student (let's call him Jon). Jon was in his final year of University, and most of what we talked about was how his devotional life was faring during the pressures of finals. One evening, however, he asked me for my opinion - should he start thinking about proposing to his girlfriend? I hadn't talked out that kind of question before, and it took me quite a while before I eventually thought of a response I was happy with. My question to him was, "tell me all of the reasons why you like her".
One of the great things about working for Steve Thomas is that I get to hear about all sorts of things and even get to take part in some of them. However, when, within a few weeks of hearing of the incredible results obtained in an evangelism campaign in Reading, I began to pick up indications that, not only that they were thinking of taking this thing to France, but that Steve had actually volunteered my services to help administrate the event, as well as to translate all the related texts, I was far from impressed.