"The Spirit distinctly came on me to go and speak in no uncertain terms to all I knew personally who had not accepted Christ. I went and pulled no punches, and a number came out for Christ, about sixteen of them. This caused a stire like a touch of revival. As I shared these experiences with others in the Christian Union, it came like a vision to me that every university and college in Britain and the world should have its evangelical and witnessing Christian Union, as we had."
I think this may be a quote from the book 'From Cambridge to the World' - a book looking the circumstances which led to the first CU, the Cambridge Intercollegiate Christian Union, and their development over time. If not a direct quote, then it definitely draws upon some of the content of the book.
I have recently been editting a document that was handed over to me when I started as president of the University of Manchester Christian Union. The original document was by Ian Garrett and written for Newcastle CU. So I thought it might be helpful to update it and clarify a few points for our situation here.
Where's the link? Well, in the document I listed the above book as recommended reading, and being reminded of the document gave me the thought that it might be a useful thing to do to post the document in sections on this blog for the few of you who read it to make suggestions on how it might be improved! All suggestions would be very much encouraged and appreciated!
What is CU? (a word to new execs)
Know what you're running!
Now that you are taking on your position on the UMCU exec, the questions that you should be asking at first are not 'Who should we get to speak in October', or 'Who can lead the prayer meeting on Friday'. No doubt you will have to face those questions eventually, but the most important question to ask at this stage is 'What is a CU?'. To help answer that question, it might be helpful to think about what would be missing if all CU's were wiped from the face of the earth?
'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...' (Matthew 28:18-19)
UMCU is part of a larger movement, UCCF:thechristianunions, which supports CU's around the UK. UCCF is an organisation which grew out of a single CU set up over 100 years ago in one university. It became clear, after that first CU that the best people to reach students with the gospel are... students! UCCF exists to support Christian students in their witness to fellow students on campus.
It is often said that the CU is the missionary arm of the local churches to the student world. CU's can reach the parts that other Christian works don't necessarily reach. CU's have certain advantages in evangelism on campus over churches (e.g. the use/hire of university venues). For more thoughts on how CU's and churches compliment each other, take a look at the section on 'CU and Church'.
(to be continued...)