Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We need Christian Unions with a Whoever mindset
I recently heard PJ Smyth preach on 1 Chronicles 11-12. There David says, whoever steps up to the fight gets to be the chief. Whoever.
The main plot is a gospel picture of whoever comes gets to come to life in Jesus... could 10,000 CU members introduce five friends each to Jesus through the pages of Luke's gospel this year? The invite is universal... whoever will come can come...
And David gives us a "subplot" picture of whoever steps up to the fight gets to lead the line in mission. People will carry roles and responsibilities in a Christian Union (as with church) but those who step up to the plate and disciple Christians and share Jesus with their friends - those who engage in gospel ministry - will be the leaders... and any leader worthy of their name will rejoice and support that.
The global movement of Christian Unions started when God gave a vision to Norman Grubb, a student involved in the Cambridge Christian Union in 1919. God has grown this work that is refreshed annually by new freshers
A history of the Christian Unions reports on the late statesman of 20th Century Evangelicalism, John Stott (ht: Greg Pye for the reminder):
"John Stott was a student from 1940 to 1945 and already showed unusual gifts. The CICCU Exec., however, had the sense to send one of their number to tell him that they would not invite him to join the next committee as they believed he should be free from committee meetings. They wanted him to get on with the evangelist and pastoral work in which he was exercising an outstanding ministry.... .... The whole effectiveness of the CICCU depended on the fact that a high proportion of ordinary members, both then and in almost all periods of history, were active in personal evangelism and in helping one another in every way. The committee were very much looked up to and their example was influential; but they were not the CICCU, and the tone of each College group was the major influence."
Stott's example, and that of his CU leaders - says to CU members: leadership isn't a job it's what you do by your example. Stott's example says to CU leaders: create an entrepreneurial culture where people are released to share Christ with one another, be facilitators and liberators and mobilisers.
A year ago I heard of a student called Hannah who had come back into her 2nd year at Uni, she was a hall group leader and wanted to run Student Alpha with some friends. The CU already ran other courses but they didn't have the capacity to reach everyone... so there's always more room at the table. I dived in to offer her support. A year on she coordinates the central evangelistic plans of the CU... but her task will only thrive if the members of the CU take hold of the vision for themselves and lead the line.
The beauty of Christian Unions is that they're grass-roots, student-led... and this year's Uncover Project is fuel for that fire.
Where do we get that freedom? By living in Christ not in ourselves. By looking to Christ not ourselves. And whoever comes to him lives. Live in him like this and we might in this generation grow and serve the church through effective student mission...