Around 100 young people attended a seminar on Tuesday night centred on how a student can live for Christ at university. Barry Forde and Philip Alcorn led the seminar, giving everybody the opportunity to tell them their concerns, and ask them any questions they wanted answered in the seminar.
A number of the questions asked by the group were about dealing with peer pressure and trying to stand out from the crowd in terms of Christian morality and discipline, however there were some questions about finding a church and having Christian friends.
The talk started with the leaders encouraging everyone to “Get out there and enjoy it.” He urged people to get to know others who are different to them in terms of lifestyle and beliefs, as this would help them gain experience of the secular world and to find where they stand within modern society’s morals and beliefs. Staying in a bubble at university could mean that the young person is inexperienced and vulnerable after they graduate and begin working life.
“Try not to stay in a little Christian bubble the whole way through university. Join a different club or society, not just the Christian Union!”
The leaders continued by emphasising that God tells us “Do not be afraid” multiple times through the Bible. It can be so easy to worry about leaving home and going to university. After all, leaving your secure comfort zone to enter the big bad world is a frightening concept. The freedom that is found when a student starts independent living away from home can shock them, as they realise that everything they relied on their parents for has suddenly been piled onto their own shoulders. However, despite all this, Barry and Philip encouraged the young people to step into university life with confidence and courage because God is on their side, and He is over everything.
Barry and Philip then went on to discuss “Do’s and Don’ts” of living at university, and while emphasising that it’s impossible to come up with definitive Do’s and Don’ts (due to the contrasting views on certain issues among Christians), the general things to remember are:
- Have the confidence to be yourself
- Genuinely care for people
- Pursue and spend time with God by yourself.Don’t:
- Be scared to talk to non-Christians (as most will respect you for standing up to your own personal beliefs) or be afraid that people will think that you’re a weirdo.
When discussing the controversial topic of drinking and clubbing at university, Barry and Philip said that there were plenty of ways in which Christians can stand out in their faith and be a good witness when those around them are drinking and clubbing every weekend.
“One way to be a great witness at university is to show that you can have a great time without drinking excessively and clubbing every night.”
They emphasised that Christians need to stand up for their faith in the current society, and the next generation of Christian young people need to be noticed and counted for.
“We need Christians in every sphere of life, influencing the world with Godly perspective.”
Barry and Philip made it clear that while it’s a good idea to make non-Christian friends and try to get to know a wide range of people while at university, it is also very important to make good Christian friends at university, whether that be through the Christian Union or the local church. Having someone to be accountable to is something which can really help anyone grow in their walk with the Lord.
While Barry and Philip emphasised that it’s very important for a Christian to be disciplined at university, they also made it clear that if you do happen to make a mistake or slip up, don’t panic and think that God doesn’t love you anymore. Everybody sins, what’s important is that you come back to the cross.
“Don’t think the world is over if you slip and fall. There is nothing that is irredeemable. There is nothing that the cross can’t cover.”
The talk concluded with the leaders comforting the group and telling them not to worry about results day, which is next Thursday, 13th August. If your results turn out to be not as good as you expected, don’t worry. God has your life mapped out.
“Guidance isn’t about massive, radical leaps; guidance is about the next small step. Keep moving forward until God says stop.”