In my job working with three creative and courageous Christian Unions I’ve seen a fair few events, but one afternoon this term really stood out.
It was probably the smallest CU event I’ve been to this year, one of the cheapest, and the idea only came about five days before the event. And yet in many ways this event was the one that brought me the most joy to be a part of.
The event was: A frisbee tournament with a talk about Jesus.
I know. Impressive right? Ground-breaking right? Explosive and headline making right? Wrong. But there were a few ingredients that combined to make this seemingly unimpressive afternoon a wonderful example of CU evangelism.
1) CU members living life among non-Christians
The afternoon came about because three people in UBCU play in the university’s Ultimate Frisbee team and wanted to reach their mates with the gospel. They put their heads together, and put together a simple event that their mates would love. 15 or so mates came along to join a good number of the CU, but none of this would be possible if these three had been hiding away. Consistently, in my own life and those of CU students I work with, one of the biggest stallers of evangelism is that Christians are too busy with Christians, living an “in here” Christianity, talking about their “non-Christian friends” rather than making some! But these three have spent a couple of years every Wednesday playing Frisbee. They’ve gone on bus journeys to games, hung out and trained with their teammates and probably missed early morning prayer meetings (God forgive them) as a result. But what has happened is that they have 15 friends who want to come to a tournament where some old-bloke-staff-worker will speak about Jesus Christ! Jesus, The Godly Human, was nicknamed the friend of sinners, and wore that badge with pride. CU is at it’s finest when we own that title too!
2) An engaging event that serves the guest
Not only did they have friends who trusted them enough to come along, but the event was put on in such a way as it engaged their friends where they are at, and also served the guests superbly. Not only was there a Frisbee tournament, but there was a prize for every team. Not only was there a half-time break, but ice-pops and water bottles were given to everyone attending. Not only did the tournament run its course but afterwards there was a barbeque. All paid for and prepared and planned by the CU, for the good of the guest. With a small bit of thought and a little bit of cash, the guests were treated as if they mattered to the CU, as if the CU saw them as people not just projects. These extra touches say so much and added so much to the atmosphere of the event.
3) A talk, about Jesus, with a next step.
Friendships, food, extra touches and a creative event are all excellent, but if that’s where it stops then this would not have been a Christian Union event, but just an EXCELLENT Frisbee team training session.
Good CU events are always MORE than speaking about Jesus but never less. I was invited to get up at half-time (while guests were enjoying their ice-pops and water) and spoke just for five minutes about why I found Jesus compelling. Seeds planted. And that’s all we can do!
But not only that, each guest was given an Uncover Luke’s gospel as a summer gift to take home with them. It would have been easy to forget this, leaving intrigued guests with no way of finding out more over the gaping, three-month Redbrick summer! But the CU had simply thought ahead, and brought with them these gifts, wrapped up individually.
I’m told that lots and lots of conversations have taken place, that afternoon and since, and that many were genuinely intrigued at Jesus, and loved the event.
It was a small and unmemorable event, and quite easy to put on – but with these three ingredients, it soared!
So what about you?
If you’re involved in a CU… here’s three questions for you:
1) Where am I intentionally living among people who don’t love Jesus?
2) Do our events treat people as human beings who we love and care for, or like projects to pounce on?
3) Do we leave it as an engaging event or do we make sure people get the chance to hear about Christ, and take a next-step?
No matter the size of your CU – an event like this is WELL within your reach. So go for it! And who knows what might happen…