Creating New Communities: Reflections from Student Leaders

by EU Graduates Fund

The EU’s ministry is shaping up to look significantly different in 2021, as students have returned to on campus meetings with an altered ‘regional day community’ structure. This has brought great joy as students have the opportunity to fellowship in person again! However, these changes have naturally brought challenges for student leaders in adapting, and equally, encouraging their faculties to come on board.

We chatted to two leaders about their experiences of adjusting to this unique year of ministry. Sam McIntyre, a fourth year Law/Philosophy student, is the Faculty Leader for Law and leading the Tuesday Humanities day community. Ellie Yip, a fourth year Nursing student, is Faculty Leading for Nursing and leading the Thursday Health day community too.

How are you finding the EU’s changes?

Sam: I miss regular closeness with the law faculty. However, it is easy to forget how wonderful being back in person is. Another year of zoom really cannot compare to learning with, loving, and inviting others in person.

Ellie: Having run for several weeks already, day communities prove to be an amazing vehicle to draw in first years and create the sense of community that’s much needed. Though there are holes in the plan that still need to be identified and addressed, the firstfruits of these changes are slowly coming to light.

How have other students responded?

Sam: I was expecting a blended variety of excitement, disappointment, boldness, and apprehension. Having said that, I was struck by the number of students that came, even in the first week, to bible seminar on Tuesday. Praise God.

Ellie: Expecting senior students to be resistant, I was pleasantly surprised when many were extra keen to come onto campus and stay for as long as their timetable allowed.

What challenges are there for your ministry?

Sam: Forming new communities that are evangelistic, caring, and committed to one another takes a fair amount of energy. There is a related logistical challenge with pastoral care. Most importantly, I feel these challenges tempt me to overly rely on myself. If I don’t keep in touch with my small group, who will? Am I doing enough?

Ellie: To not stay static and comfortable with how things are running. Not losing sight of the Gospel and being intentional with evangelism, as we can so easily focus on the current flock in the day community and neglect the rest.

What has been encouraging so far?

Sam: After bible seminars, when we spend time sharing lunch, a number of encouraging moments spring to mind. People exchanging christian books. Conversations about how church is going. New Christians inquiring about how to pray the psalms. Frisbee games on the law lawns. Fresh friends getting a snack together. First years sharing with their classmates what they learnt about God in Exodus.

Ellie: It was such a joy seeing first year students attend our first ever day community in Week 1, looking a little awkward and out of place. Over the weeks, it’s wonderful to see how they’ve made themselves at home within the day community.

What can supporters be praying for you?

Sam: Since God has blessed us with many law first years, please ask that they build a close, outward-looking, and strongly supportive community. As mid-semester assessments approach, pray for older students, including myself, that God would provide us opportunities to share our faith with non-believing friends.

Ellie: It’s been so easy for me to get trapped in the processes and making sure things go well, that I can lose sight of the caring for people and God’s purposes. Pray that I will serve for the right purposes and keep my eyes on Him alone.

Praise God with us for these faithful leaders investing in other students’ lives for the sake of the Gospel!

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