The EU is 7 years off 100! Under God, in each generation the EU has discipled students, sent them out, and presented the gospel in relevant ways to each generation.
Recently I picked up the EU history book (Meredith Lake, 2005), and I was surprised and encouraged by the variety of stories within! Surprised at the stories about the Cold War, Billy Graham missions, and hard-fought theological discussions. Encouraged by students from different cultures that unified around Jesus, proclaimed Him, and served as graduates wherever God took them. I was spurred to prayer, to ask God to continue His work today! Some prayer points are at the end of this article.
So, what about today’s stories?
Today’s Sydney University has 75 000 students. 33 000 are international students, mostly from mainland China, and mostly returned to campus after lockdown.
For our current student leaders, their formative experience of the EU was during lockdown. The whole campus is still moving on from our lockdown experience.
The common big questions among students are about ethics and identity. Our recent Public Meeting bible talk series on Genesis has been great for this, focusing on the topic of humanity, and has prompted theological discussions on these topics within the EU. But the EU has always been about learning in fellowship, not teaching in isolation.
In this century, we have seen the inclusion of different cultural groups, and the growth of a network of EU Postgraduates and University staff. Small groups continue to be a core part of campus fellowship. Our small group series on Job prompted prayer and discussions about suffering, and pursuing God through periods where life doesn’t make sense.
However, recent university strikes have decreased the available time for groups to form and build trusting fellowship. Together with the conflict-avoidant nature of Generation Z, some students who disagree with each other or have questions may be less eager to raise it due to a lack of trust. They may even ‘ghost’ the group and disappear from the group life. This means the beginning phase of a small group is more subtle, and small group leaders require careful contemplation of the things left unsaid within the group and wisdom for engaging with those who are quieter.
Secure in Christ and unified around Him, the EU and other Christians have an opportunity to help students learn to embrace healthy conflict. In the EU, leaders are trained and encouraged to show the easy welcome we have in Christ. We addressed this issue of ‘ghosting’ directly, in our Easter talk called ‘Has God ghosted us?’ Rather than ‘haunted’, we discussed what it might look like for us and our campus to be ‘enchanted’ with God.
We don’t yet know what stories a EU history book might write about this generation. But we are praying for them. Would you join us? Please pray now with me for this generation to:
- Grow in maturity in Christ in their relationships and hardships
- Grow in trust of the gospel and continue steadfast in it
- Grow in prayer for God’s kingdom at Sydney Uni.
- Pray for revival in Sydney!
Thanks for your ongoing support for kingdom work at Sydney University!
– Jono Hathway, EU Senior StaffBack to News