Friday, July 04, 2008

The Ideal CU member?

All 'ministry' is about people rather than projects, musing on this I've been trying to picture the ideal CU member rather than the ideal CU... picture the person and then the UCCF team and our partners in the local church can equip them and invest in them. In reality this is all the outworking of students loving Jesus, but detail helps sometimes.

It's a draft picture at the moment... a rough sketch. Our ideal CU member is then i nvolved in the partnership of students reaching students (namely, The CU), united by the gospel with Christian students from their church and from other churches.

I picture this student patiently living with a group of friends who aren't Christians, engaging in meaningful conversation together about all manner of things, being human, enjoying life as a gift from God. And praying that even one of their friends might become a Christian while at Uni - which would equate to about 250 people a year in the South West. And, honestly, we're not there yet!


  1. Couldn't they be confident in the gospel rather than in apologetics?

  2. Whilst I agree that it is a good thing to live with non - Christians, I don't think that it makes the qualities of an ideal CU member. One might well live with Non Christians and never share the Gospel with them, no matter how confident they were in its power. (A bizarre scenario i grant you)

    Secondly there are distinct advantages to living with either some or all of your house mates as Christians. Living together as Christians doesn't mean automatic "holy huddle".

    I guess because I lived with 3 Christians this year i feel a bit narked that this somehow makes me (Ex -Exec) and my 3 house mates (2 of whom are current Exec) somehow less than ideal.

    I happily grant i'm not ideal but i dont see that as coming from whom I lived with this year.

    Interesting post never the less.

  3. What Larry said, +1.

    I lived with non-Christians at uni, all three years, and had mixed results in terms of evangelism and my own holiness.

    Maybe love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (properly understood) would be the ideal CU member.

    Not that I disagree with any of the other qualities mentioned but there's wisdom involved both ways round.

  4. Oh, and if you want these kind of students the work really needs to begin earlier. Even the better churches/families in the UK do a poor job of bringing up their children in the fear of the Lord.

  5. The issue is one of time I think. A critique we are always getting from both students and churches is that the CU model takes up so much time that people don't spend much meaningful time with non Christians.

    Maybe that's not true of you Larry - well done! However, in my experience when students/church leaders say that about particular situations, it is because all the CU members have moved in together.

  6. As I said, it's a draft!

    On the who-you-live-with... First years in Halls are in my observation the most effective missionary opportunity. If then all those Christians move in with one another that shrivels the opportunities vastly.

    E.g take year 1, say 30 Christians in the Cu living with 300+ non-Christians.

    From year two the same 30 people might either still live with 70-100 of them in houses or they could just fill five 'Christian' houses... I know there are benefits of living with Christians, and there is both more to life than evangelism and more to evangelism than where you live, but.... it makes some difference...

    I also think that retreat happens because when you get to the end of the first term it's often the case that Christians have made their best friendships with Christians rather than really investing with non-Christians, and so often are left to have to live with the Christians. That's unnecessary.

    I would also say that the one downside of getting married is that I've now only lived with a Christian for the last six years, whereas until my marriage I lived with 3 non-Christians... Intentional as I was to keep up friendship afterwards things drift... there's nothing quite living with people.

    None of those 'ideals' are designed to
    a) force conformity
    b) denegrade those who don't
    c) burden people
    ...they just strike me as beneficial to a student who wants to make the most of pioneering evangelism in a student context

  7. Wow. Don't we Christian types love blogs & quick commenting.
    First of all I'm sorry I probably should have emphasised this originally.

    its a very good draft! I agree it is very much a matter of heart and attitude - which i know i really don't lead the way in by any stretch of the imagination.

    Maybe a rewording of the tag to something that reflects evangelism as a priority of the heart first and foremost? ie "I am passionate about evangelism" or something less cliched to that effect.

    As a by the by living with a non Christian family at home made my 2nd yr of living with Christians a great time. That said I am looking forward to going to other end of spectrum on my year abroad. Starting Sept i spend 3 months in Martinique then 6 in Germany. Both places i will be living with non Christians.

    Thanks for the post though, and the challenge it raises!

  8. Larry, I really appreciate the interaction. I love blogs cos they help me to think outloud... to blog-myself-clear. All comments welcome! :)

  9. I'd like to second Mr Blanche's proposal.

    Thank you.

  10. Yeh, maybe.
    Until Tom Price jumps on me.

  11. :) This looks like a mantrap!

    How do you see being confident in the gospel happening? What has to happen? Describe for me how you came to be more confident that the gospel is true and real.

    I'm not sure if I have such a neat box for apologetics that you have Dan and Dan. You seem to think it is a very tidy neat little area. I tend to think that reasons, and persuasion, subversion for the gospel are all quite hard to cordon off.

    Interesting how much persuasion Paul uses in the Pauline epistles.

  12. The broader question for this picture is

    a) if this is the 'ideal' what support/training etc is needed to get there?
    b) how much of that is best sourced from local church, and which is UCCF best placed to provide?
    c) is this what we're doing and if not is that because we're not prioritising things, because we're not equipped ourselves, because the needs aren't perceived... etc etc.

  13. I think I'd want to say that 'Confident in the gospel' probably covers some ground of apologetics, because none of us is going to be talking about confidence in a dumb-way... I'm not blindly confident, but confident because I'm persuaded. I guess I used the apologetics language in the picture because I want my confidence in the gospel to be able to be front-footed engagement with others.

    I probably include 'gospel confidence' also as a part of enjoying the grace of God because I don't think you can do that without being sure and certain about the gospel.

  14. Daniels,

    I think I'd want to affirm, confidence in the gospel, rather than confidence in being able to figure things without God revealing answers to us.

    We need to reject rationalism: man starting out from himself and closing the door on divine revelation as a route to knowing about the world.

    Having said that, the idea of 'being confident in the gospel' without admitting that we have gone through a process of human thinking; where we bring things before our minds and choose somethings while not choosing others - considering ideas, rejecting false ones, accepting true ones, is just blindness.

    John Frame makes the same point in his chapter on the problem of justification in The Knowledge of God.

    Some human rational function is at play in every system. Do you see that?