Raising up Evangelists for the Future: reflections from a final year student

by EU Graduates Fund

I got into evangelism on campus when my Howie, in my first semester of first year, took me to do walk up evangelism. I remember that first week – being terrified on the bus to campus – but also the guy we chatted to outside the quad, and the conversation we had. While he wasn’t converted, I was – to evangelism, that is.

Weekly, I would meet up with my Howie to do walk up and chat about my personal evangelism. I learnt so much through watching my Howie as they did evangelism. I saw how they showed empathy through listening and the questions they asked, and how they were able to bring conversations back to Jesus, presenting him as the answer to the deepest darkest longings of everyone’s heart.

Fast forward three years and that passion for evangelism on campus has continued. I have been the student leader of the Evangelism Team on campus for the last two years.

Last year was crazy: the EU’s 90th anniversary, and the designated ‘Year of Evangelism’. Yes Covid happened, but despite that, the growth in numbers attending evangelism training or signing up to be held accountable in groups was double the previous year! We were blessed to see over 100 students trained in evangelism.

Enter the start of university in 2021. New students on the Evangelism Team, but the same fiery heart to see EU students equipped to share the gospel and to raise the temperature of evangelism on campus. The Evangelism team was largely unsure what ministry on campus would look like. Would walk up be safe? Will people even be sitting around on campus? Will EU students be at uni for evangelism training?

We have faced difficulties, such as our numbers being down from last year. Some of last year’s initiatives that worked fantastically over Zoom have struggled to adapt back to face-to-face ministry. It has been a process for us of learning to adapt, innovate, reset. And yet, there has been great reason for rejoicing.

In my final year of university, I am feeling two things: old as a fourth year, but also acutely aware that my time in the EU is rapidly coming to an end. What has formed such a fundamental part of my university experience for the last four years will wrap up shortly.

This is why it’s been the greatest encouragement to see first-year students becoming the next generation of campus gospel workers. As the Evangelism Team we often pray from Matthew 9: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I encourage you to pray this for Sydney Uni too! The harvest is abundant with over 60,000 students and the workers are few.

The biggest encouragement this year has been seeing first year students passionate to share the gospel with anyone who will listen. Just last week, a first year student came to evangelism training. As a result, the next day she invited her friend to Bible Seminar, and they said yes! The week before that, we held our first in-person evangelism training event in over two years. 16 people attended to be equipped to read Uncover Mark with a non-christian, almost half of whom were first years. This is what excites me about what God is doing on, and through, campus. 16 students are now equipped for life to read the Bible with non-christians wherever God may lead them in the world. What is the multiplied outcome into the future for God’s kingdom? Only God knows!

It is humbling to reflect that the EU, under God’s faithfulness, has continued for 90 years before me and will continue for many more after me. I am just a small cog in God’s plan for Sydney University and the world. It brings me so much joy to see God raising up the next generation of evangelists on campus. The future of evangelism at Sydney Uni is in safe hands, but only because evangelism is in the safe hands of a God who cares more about the lost on campus than we ever will.

The future of evangelism at Sydney Uni is in safe hands, but only because evangelism is in the safe hands of a God who cares more about the lost on campus than we ever will.

God is faithful to the EU to glorify His name on campus. Our names, the students, the staff, will all fade away, and I take great delight in knowing that only one name will last – Jesus.


James Tugwell

Senior Student, E-Team

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