Sunday, July 15, 2007


A short term mission team from UCCF (the equivalent of TSCF in the UK) departed yesterday for Lincoln University having spent 12 days with us here in Wellington. They did some orientation for the team and helped the Victoria University students with a range of evangelistic activities that the students had planned for the first week of semester.

The team from UCCF's involvement has reminded me of how people from outside a context are able to see things from a different perspective and more importantly spur on and encourage those within the context. It has shown me again how people from within a context are more open to talking to people from outside the context. For us that means that kiwi's can be more open to talking about Jesus with those from outside New Zealand (but this does not excuse kiwi's from talking to kiwi's) which is something I need to think about some more.

The week itself was hugely encouraging! It has been a joy to see and be involved as Christian students at Vic and from UCCF come together and studied the bible everyday and served side by side in the work of spreading the good news about Jesus.

One of the things we did was a survey among students based upon the question "If you could ask God one question what would it be and why would you ask it?". It was a real surprise to me how open and honest people were, even though they were talking to complete strangers.

I have read many articles that say that the people today are different to the people of yesterday. That postmoderns have different questions to those that were previously being asked and that we need to change the way we do evangelism as a result.

Are today's students really all that different? Based upon the survey we did last week they are still asking the same sorts of questions: why does God allow suffering, hasn't science disproved God? Why does God hate people who are homosexual?

But yet I wonder if they are looking for a fuller answer. They want a reasoned answer to their question but might it be helped if connected with experience/story? One of my reflections of the past week (which may seem obvious) is that we need to hear Peter's call to "give a reason for the hope that we have" but we also need to be able to tell stories (or testimonies which is the other word that Christians sometimes use instead of the word "story": when I use the word story I don't mean fiction), particularly our own story, in a way that is firmly connected to illustrating/applying the truth.

The week has also been a rebuke for me. I have to be honest in that I did not think that surveying would work. I thought that no one would be interested. But many of them were. It may sound obvious but is has reminded me that, though it may not always be as visible on the surface (as I would prefer!), God is at work at Victoria university.

I am also thinking through how I can use questions more effectively in evangelism, someone has recommended a book called Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman which I will try and get hold of a copy of.

I am thankful to God and to the team and for all involved last week for all that was done and for all we have learnt together. One of the joys of being involved in IFES (both TSCF and UCCF are founder members of IFES) is that we can partner in evangelism all over the planet. Long may it continue!

The challenge now is where do we go from here in terms of evangelism on campus? How do we keep last week from being the high point of our evangelism? How do we keeping pressing on? What is the next step for the Christian students and how can we help the those with questions find answers? We have already setup a blog as an online way for people to interact around the questions that they have and are planning lunch time talks on the most popular questions that people have. Please join with us in giving thanks for last week and in praying about the way ahead.

Monday, July 02, 2007


So I've had a few discussions of late as to what a person should call their girlfriend or boyfriend. I have a friend who thinks that the title "girlfriend" sounds a bit teenagery. I think some of the other titles that were suggested were "significant other", "lady-friend", and "object of my affection". To be honest I am note sure that any of the other suggested titles have any less complications than the first. For that matter I don't have that much of an issue with the titles boyfriend and girlfriend.

Anyway, for those of you who on the other side of the planet, here is a picture of Anna and I.