The third degree from Pod Bhogal of UCCF: 38,000 attend CU missions

Third Degree

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UCCF Staff Workers report that around 38,000 students attended a Christian Union (CU) mission week in 2014.

The 2014 figures represent a 19% increase from 32,000 students in the previous year. The figures include both CU and non-CU member attendance at lunchtime, evening and small group evangelistic events spread across 115 university missions.

Nottingham University Christian Union (NUCU) reported that 160 people have requested some form of follow-up, with at least 54 stating that they’d like to become a Christian during their events week. Jason, an international student, went to the wrong location for a lecture. He found a seat on an upstairs balcony overhearing the lunchtime CU talk on ‘Science and God’, and ended up asking a CU mission guest how to become a Christian. He has since been connected with a CU member, a small group and a local church.

UCCF Midlands team leader Tim Dennis said, ‘we have been encouraged that, so far, a handful of people have indicated that they would like to become Christians at Birmingham CU mission, and around 30 more have indicated that they would like to find out more by meeting up with a Christian or coming to Christianity Explored’.

Ready to become a Christian

Ryan Baxter, a student at the University of Central Lancashire said: ‘In my second year at university, I decided to go along with Jamie to an Uncover [seeker Bible study] session hosted by the Christian Union. Ben [the leader] encouraged me to ask anything I wanted. He prepared an hour-long session for me each week and tailored it to my queries. I decided I was ready to become a Christian and ever since then, I have felt free, like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders’.

Hannah Butler is in her first year at Exeter University, where she is studying English and German. She is not a member of the CU, but commented on her experience of Exeter CU’s events week, Life to the Full. ‘Life to the Full put forward Christian perspectives on some of life’s tough questions. The events proved an eye-opening experience, encouraging me to question my own beliefs. The Christian Union demonstrated an incredible openness and generosity which allowed students to explore new ideas and beliefs, and the week was a credit to everyone involved.’ Hannah has since attended a seeker course, has been given an Uncover Gospel and said, ‘the ideas are slowly falling into place, which is incredibly exciting’.

The Revd Richard Cunningham, National Director of UCCF, believes that while overall church attendance in the UK is dropping and the church nationally is lacking teenagers and those in their 20s and 30s, on campus, interest in exploring faith has never been higher. He said: ‘Across Britain, our student Christian Union leaders are reporting unprecedented interest in exploring issues related to faith, requesting Christian literature, and attending CU events. It seems that aggressive secularism is leaving today’s under 25s with a genuine spiritual hunger for something authentic and lasting’, adding, ‘Many will go on to attend follow-up courses, one-to-one Uncover seeker Bible studies and join a church for the first time.’

Pod Bhogal writes ‘The third degree’ column for EN.He is head of Communications, UCCF: The Christian Unions —

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This article was first published in the June 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.