This week I reflected with some colleagues that I found it quite depressing to talk to my non-Christian friends. The main thing is that they seem to always talk about the world in extremely cynical terms: others’ motives are always malicious or self-interested; corporations, celebrities, CEOs and politicians are either stupid or gaming the system to their advantage. And in such a world, a world in which moral integrity is weakness, pragmatism rules, and no one is accountable to God, there is no real basis for hope. It seems only sensible to look out for yourself and gain for yourself any advantage you have access to.
Many students at uni seem to live with a similar worldview. They see the problems of the world, of society, and of life, and they have difficulty finding reasons to have hope or confidence in the future.
That’s why we’re running a two-week evangelistic “mission” on campus in Semester 2 on the theme, “Find hope again”. Jesus offers hope to all who turn to him: hope grounded in God’s compassion, his faithfulness, his justice, his forgiveness, his new creation, and Jesus’ resurrection.
This year, instead of focussing on centralised EU-wide events, each faculty will organise and run faculty-specific evangelistic Public Meetings. The Design students may have an architecture graduate speak to the experience of their profession. The Science students want to run a series called “Facts vs Faith”. The students in the ACES (Asian-Australian Christian Evangelical Students) faculty have suggested a talk titled, “Is A+ good enough?”
Jesus offers hope to all who turn to him: hope grounded in God’s compassion, his faithfulness, his justice, his forgiveness, his new creation, and Jesus’ resurrection.
In addition to these faculty-based events, we are also training senior students and keen evangelists to run “festival-style” gospel opportunities. These are small-scale events that individuals or small groups of Christians create for their own friendship networks. They are intentionally tailored to their friends’ interests and questions, and challenge the Christian students to think hard about bringing the gospel to bear in their friends’ lives.
We have run similar evangelistic missions in the past, but few of the current cohort of students have experienced this mode of evangelism due to the impact Covid has had over the last two years. Yet as students step up to the challenge of inviting their friends to hear the gospel, they are learning a lifelong skill in how they, even as “laypeople”, can bring Jesus to the networks they find themselves in.
Not only so, but we pray that through the many “little” events that happen in this season, God may be working in many students’ hearts to lead them to true hope through faith in the Lord Jesus. It is confident hope that will give students the ability to endure and tackle the challenges and problems of the world. Hope will enable them to put moral integrity and the common good above self-interested pragmatism. And hope can renew the cynic as they discover the power of God to change hearts and to change history.
So pray that many gospel opportunities are created to share the hope that Jesus brings, and pray that this hope changes people’s lives.
The EU’s evangelistic mission season will take place in weeks 4 to 5 of semester 2, from 22 August to 2 September 2022.
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