So what is CU?
CU is a particular group of Christians united around a particular set of truths committed to a particular set of aims.
A particular group of Christians
CU's are a group of students, led by students, working together.
A particular set of truths
If you are going to be reaching fellow-students with the gospel, you need to be clear about what the gospel is! As CU leaders, you must be committed to the biblical gospel, and CU speakers or anyone else in a leadership position must be too. That is why we use the UCCF doctrinal basis which summarises the gospel from the Bible. The Doctrinal Basis is wonderful as it is designed to be inclusive – it includes all who believe the very core doctrine that really matter, laying aside any other differences that come around from, for example, denominational differences. But, though it is inclusive of the widest group of people possible, it is only inclusive of those that we truly want to work with – those fighting the fight for the true gospel of Christ.
A particular set of aims
The aim of UMCU is simply this: Evangelism by the students of the university of Manchester to the students of the University of Manchester. We want to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, and to lead others to personal faith in him. This is one of the major ways that CU differs from local churches: you can and should prioritise evangelism to students and be willing to let many other things go by the board (leave them to churches – they can do a better job of it!).
Here is a helpful way to picture it:
((Now you'll have to imagine this as I don't know how to put the pic here... its a triangle with a line horizontally across the middle. Above the line is 'evangelism', below the line is 'fellowship, prayer, teaching etc'))
The goal aim is evangelism by students to students. If you make that your goal aim, the rest will follow, because in order to evangelise, people need to be confident in the gospel (and to be taught, trained and equipped specifically for that), and praying (because ultimately, only God can convert people) etc. If you make anything else the goal of CU, however good it is, evangelism will quickly go by the board.
Think of the ascent of Everest as an illustration. John Hunt and Co set themselves the task to get to the summit of Everest (goal aim). To do so, they needed oxygen equipment, so there was a great deal of research done on providing equipment for such high altitude (support aim). The goal aim necessitated the support aim. However, it is perfectly possible to do oxygen research as a goal aim, without ever putting a man on top of everest.
Likewise with CU. Make evangelism your goal aim, and it will necessitate and encourage various other support aims of CU. But it is perfectly possible for these support aims to creep in and become an end in themselves, without ever actually doing any evangelism. Only when they are serving to better enable the goal aim of evangelism are they useful within CU.
(to be continued...)
[Please excuse the slightly odd formatting of this post... after reposting it several times, I'm clueless how to make it look like it's meant to!]