Auteur: Krish Kandiah
Category: Témoignage personnel
EU students went chalking all over campus
1. Go crazy with publicity
The EU staff and students peppered the campus with advertising: helium balloons, hoodies, t-shirts, facebook invites –my favourite is chalking – which as it was explained to me is different from grafitti because it is a) allowed and b) it all comes off in the rain. Students chalked every where – on pavements, on steps, on bridges and walkways. They chalked so much they got metioned on the equivalent of the Metro newspaper in Sydney. Thousands of gospels were also distributed during the weeks.
Using posters, facebook and chalk - students spread the word
2. Go public with your venues
Some of my favourite events took place on the front lawns right outside the main university buildings. A very large and very loud PA system was set up that meant you could hear the preaching almost everywhere on campus. A stage, a large banner and a BBQ and then either a debate, a talk or a Question and Answer session took place.
Lee McMunn, Ian Powell and me
3. Go long
This mission ran for 3 weeks in a row! Knowing university students- it takes a while for the penny to drop that there is a mission going on and sometimes by the time the word is out the thing is over. Why don’t we experiment with longer missions? How about a two week one – the first week we have open conversations – round tables and debates and the second week can be more proclamation based – any takers?
Front Lawns University of Sydney
4. Go for lunch times
In my experience it is a lot easier to get people out for lunch times in the UK than the evenings. At Sydney, like many London universities, most of the students commute in and so evening events are very hard to attract people to. So this mission centred around lunch times. But the difference was they went for a two hour lunch time event. Now I have been involved in missions where we have repeated the lunch time talks to accommodate different lunch hours. But the idea for this mission was that if a student came at 12pm and left at 1pm they received a really useful session, and similarly if a student came at 1pm and left at 2pm they would receive a useful session. The difference is there were two separate – but related talks meant that if someone was free to come at 12pm and stay through to 2pm they would get a double whammy. The thing was most that most people stayed through. We were getting 350 at most of the lunch times – with a good proportion of enquirers.
What difference does the resurrection make lecture
5. Go for variety
Despite focusing mainly on lunch time meetings there was a massive range of events that took place. Round table discussions with people from other faiths in discussion, Debates – Atheists verses Christians on the evidence of the resurrection, straight gospel talks – with an opportunity to respond, using multiple speakers at events. There was a definite progression in thinking over the weeks – moving from listening to conversation, to debate to proclamation which made a lot of sense.
6. Go for one to ones?
Not sure about it – but really up for giving this a try. Rather than only relying on a follow up course : Alpha, Christianity Explored etc. why not build in a one to one culture so 50% of your student body are up for doing one to ones with inquirers post the mission.
7. Go for partnership
EU at Sydney University is very different from the average Christian group in the UK as they have 18 staff workers for one university. There are lots of pros to that ofcourse and some inherent challenges of how to encourage genuine student leadership. But even in the UK some university missions have a non-student that pours a lot of time into co-ordinating or serving the mission team. There may be some room for modelling these kinds of empowering relationships in some uni CU contexts.
8. Go off the Wall
They tried some unusual ways of stirring up a crowd – including getting Christian students to lie down in the main thoroughfare and play dead and then when the crowd gathered waking them all up and running off towards the main event handing out flyers as they went.
Paddy Benn EU Staff teaches a seminar
9. Go for training
The EU revolves around a training model. The main student christian meeting takes place on a Monday night and involves a paper being presented and discussed and then a range of options for courses – whether it’s on how to lead a 1:1 Bible study, how to share your faith, how to integrate faith and your studies. There is no singing or “preaching” which means the EU meetings do not feel like church meetings. There are a number of pros to this:
a) churches do not feel threatened by the student ministry as they are offering something very different from your average church meeting
b) students are receiving very specific life training
c) even those that have a problem with women preaching do not normally have a problem with women leading seminars )
10. Go for generosity
At the end of the week the EU paid for the two speakers to go on the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb – this was a very generous gift and something we’ll never forget.