I was talking with Laura, my wife, last night and she asked me how I was feeling. Initially I didn’t quite know how to answer. I’m concerned, obviously, bordering on anxious at times. I’m also hopeful, too. I’m a naturally positive person and have been keen to look for the good for amidst the chaos.
Conflicted about which was the more authentic (or proper) place to settle, I then realised exactly how I felt… present.
And still do. I feel sensitised. Alert. Awake.
Quite simply, the world is a different place. None of us know how this will turn out. No amount of positive spin is going to take away from the fact that there is going to be hardship, and most likely for an extended period of time.
Yet I was reminded as I put words to my feelings that my prayers have so often been for those things I now feel.
To be more aware, more present, more awake.
And it is this idea of awakening that will continue to define our activity as a ministry as we move forward.
I’ll speak in more practicality in due course, but for me ‘waking up’ in the spiritual sense looks like three things. And even as the whole concept of a campus gets turned upside down, it is these three things that will continue to guide our movement in these coming months:
- Devotion. Our first move in waking up is towards our heavenly father. To know him more intimately and see him more readily. As we become more aware of who He is we cannot help but re-orientate our whole lives around him.
- Mission. We love and serve. We identify with our brothers and sisters. We bear witness to Jesus. We play our part in bring God’s kingdom in whatever ways we can. The second move is all about finding our place in God’s masterplan for humanity; recognising the Good News, and then moving in response to that.
- Reality. There are things that are more real than that which we can see with eyes or hold in our hands. And our lives can be a signpost to those things: a prophetic message that aggressively undermines the lies that imperfect worldly structures are built upon. The third move is one of holiness and purity; not one of impossible standards and perfection, but one of integrity to the kind of people Jesus is asking us to become. Like him.
Who on earth knows exactly what that will look like for students? Everything is being re-written. Yet there lies in front of everyone an opportunity to reimagine the kind of life you want to live in partnership with God.
We’ve always been convinced that what God does on a campus and through students has the potential to impact the whole world. And that conviction remains as strong as ever.
So we will continue to equip students, and those who work with them. Our CAMPUS project already has a wealth of material available to you with publications, podcasts and a film series fully accessible. We are also well underway in the production of our third publication, which is currently scheduled for release in May.
Whilst any events or gatherings will look different than planned, we will continue to create space to connect and invest in leaders. And continue to honour our commitment to relationship and partnership across the body of Christ.
Finally, we will continue to have a long-term perspective in our approach to ministry. Investing in students for a lifetime of following Jesus, not just entertaining them during their uni years. The same goes for this season: depth will take precedence over novelty.
There lies in front of everyone an opportunity to reimagine the kind of life you want to live in partnership with God.
I believe in this generation of students.
I believe there is a hunger for God and creative expressions on his kingdom waiting to be unleashed.
I believe that in the times of greatest darkness we will see the brightest lights.
And I believe that hope has a name, and that his name in Jesus.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
– Isaiah 60:1-3
As we begin to stumble our way through this re-arranged landscape, I pray that we’ll do so with our eyes open, our heart engaged and our spirit expectant for God to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.