I am often amazed at how long it takes Christian students to find a church! I have met many third years that have shopped around churches for a couple of years looking for the right one without ever making a decision.
I have some friends who never settled in a church the whole time they were at Uni. They paid for it for a number of years afterwards because they hadn’t had the community of a church to challenge them and help them grow. Many of them talk about this with a great deal of regret.
The students that seem to settle the quickest into their new church and their new city are often the ones that make contact with a church before they even arrive at University. Some of our best freshers last year got in touch with us in July and August to find out about Christ Church Manchester and about the wonderful city of Manchester. A few of them found us at Newday, the Newfrontiers youth camp. One in particular is a girl called Emma (she is one of my heroes).
Emma found me at Newday in 2010 and as soon as she moved to Manchester she joined us. She didn’t church hop, she didn’t muck around or flake out, she just committed. Emma would regularly bring her friends along to our evening meeting (CCM:City). One of these became a Christian and was baptised a few months ago (we partied hard).
We also met Emily at Newday (we had some contact with her beforehand but she came and met us in person at Newday 2011). Emily is also one of my heroes. She started a CCM Mission group in her halls, which regularly has non-Christians involved.
So if you want to succeed as a Christian at university then find a church straight away. Research the churches over the summer, get in touch with them and find out what they do for students and how you can serve them and then commit to them.
In my city (Manchester BABY WOOP WOOP) we have a number of very good churches that students often plug into and we have many other churches that are off the student church scene but are still fantastic. Obviously I want everyone to join Christ Church Manchester but I realise that this is slightly unrealistic so we make it very clear that because there are so many good churches in this city we don’t mind which one you join just join it quickly.
Once you have found your church, stick with it. Don’t treat church like a supermarket; don’t only go along to see what you can get out of it. A committed, hungry and serving group of students can revolutionise a church’s mission.
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