If you are a new student reading this article, I first want to say congratulations for getting into university! It is such an exciting time and I pray that your experience over the coming year will be a fulfilling one despite the impact of Coronavirus.
If you have come across this article whilst in the process of looking online for a potential church to attend in Kingston, I hope that what you read here will help you to think through the importance of joining a church and committing to it, in your first year of university. Understandably new students want to explore different churches for a few months when they arrive but I would suggest that, after a few weeks, it is wise to decide on one church and get stuck in!
In this article I’ve outlined four reasons why commitment to a local church in your area is so beneficial, not only to yourself, but to other students whom you have connection with, and also to your church community who will gain from having you with them!
A Community of People
Your university experience might be the first time that you have lived away from your family for a lengthy period. Although the first few weeks as a fresher are exciting and filled with endless possibilities of things to do to suit your personal interests, you might find that the novelty will eventually begin to wear off. You will start to miss some of the familiar things you left behind - for me I just yearned to be back by the beach -and these first months can seem really hard. You suddenly realise that your new commitments and deadlines are actually quite tedious. It can even be quite challenging just to prepare food for yourself every day!
This is why church is such a valuable place. Here you will find a group of people who are your brothers and sisters, your family in Christ, who can help you to feel settled. The church is a welcoming place where you are not defined by what sport you play, or by the decor of your halls-room, or by how many pints you can drink on a night out at Wetherspoons. It is a loving group of people, from different walks of life, united by Jesus. Not only is church a place to be spiritually fed, it is a place to eat, it is a place to be encouraged by other students, and it is a place where you will benefit from the wise support of people of different age groups and life experiences. You can come exactly as you are and enjoy fellowship with people whom you will quite quickly regard as family, because they are already your family in Jesus!
To Hear God’s Word
In Deuteronomy chapter eight, Moses is delivering a sermon to the Israelites just before they reach the Promised Land. Moses in verse three, informs them that: ‘man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’
For a christian, God’s word is like a lifeline. It keeps us on the right path and helps us to know how we should conduct ourselves in all areas of life. Most importantly it reminds us of God’s love for his people.
And the more we understand this truth, the more we grow to love Him and others! University is a place where many different secular worldviews jostle for importance, and, sadly, these voices can shout a lot louder on campus than the voice of the gospel. Therefore, it is vital that we read and hear God’s word regularly, so that we can be reminded of what is true and right, and encourage each other as we persevere in speaking out the gospel.
Once you join a church, not only are you able to gain things from being part of this community, but you can begin to practise servant-heartedness, as Matthew 20:28 says: ‘just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
In being part of a church family, you have the opportunity to serve and be served. You will learn how to give of yourself for the sake of others and to demonstrate something of Jesus’s love for his people. What a privilege this is! In a world that preaches ‘think of yourself before others,’ christians strive to love others above themselves just as Jesus did. Getting stuck in with a church family will allow you to do this.
When we hear God’s word preached to us and we are reminded of Jesus’s sacrificial love for us, our urgency in wanting to share the gospel increases!
University gives you an amazing opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds and cultures. In 2019, Kingston University had 16,785 students in total, 3,680 of them being non-UK students (21.9%)
Students from countries like China, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Japan, Spain and Russia are all congregating within the lecture halls of Kingston University. What an opportunity you have to speak to such students who come from countries where the gospel cannot be shared as freely as it is in this country.
This is your opportunity to serve by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with these students while there is still time. What a joy that you have access to such a diverse mission field without having to leave the country!
If you have been challenged by this article, why not take a closer look at the Cornerstone website to find out more? We would be delighted to welcome you into our church family.
By Daisy Addington
Daisy has just completed her year as a Relay Worker for UCCF in Kingston, after 3 years studying at Kingston University.