If you’ve read the article Running a Science Network Hub, you’ll know that a Hub is more than just a discussion group: it’s also a mission team. But why is mission such an essential part of what your Hub should be doing? And what does it look like to do effective outreach in your science faculty that complements your central programme of CU events? Read on to find out!
Why does it matter that Hubs are missional?
John chapter 4 contains the famous story of Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman at the well. Having gone up to the well to draw water, the Samaritan woman has discovered more than she bargained for: a man who claims to be the Messiah offering living water. Immediately she returns to her town with an invitation: ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done!’ (John 4:29) So eager is she to tell people about her encounter with Jesus that she doesn’t even stop to pick up her water jar.
Having delivered her message, this nameless woman rushes off again – this time, accompanied by a crowd of townspeople intrigued by her story who want to get a look at this Messiah for themselves.
This to-and-fro travelling is an example of a dynamic which should characterise everyone who has entered Jesus’ life-giving presence. Like the woman, when we receive the good news of Jesus we are compelled to share it with those around us!
As science students, you take the gospel insight you’ve gained in church, CU, or your own devotional time, and carry it into the heart of the science faculty to share with those you study alongside. Then, as people begin to get curious about Jesus, we can bring them back with us to introduce them to him – whether that’s by opening Uncover together, or inviting them along to church or a CU event.
This organic ebb and flow – out into your faculty, back into Christian community – is the constant rhythm of Christian life lived out in the world, animated by the Spirit. Imagine a beating heart, or the pulsating movement of a jellyfish in a tank. In, out, in, out, on repeat. We take the gospel out – and draw people back to Jesus with us.
A Christian community without this heartbeat is dead – or at least dying. If we lose our momentum to want to share the good news of Jesus with people around us, one might ask the question whether we are really being transformed by it.
But the good news is that when this in-and-out momentum is working, it really works. Looking at the approaching crowd that the Samaritan woman has gathered from her town, Jesus comments to his disciples: ‘I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest!’ (John 4:35) He was right: John tells us that many of the Samaritans from that town come to believe in Jesus.
What might Jesus say if he took a look at your science faculty? Would he see a mass of people so closed off to the gospel that it’s not worth trying? Or would he see fields ripe for harvest?
There are no shortage of people in your department who need to hear about Jesus, and as a Christian community at the heart of the science faculty you are uniquely placed to introduce them to him.
Keep reading for some practical ideas about how your Hub can work together to take the gospel out into your faculty, and invite people to come and meet Jesus.
Supporting personal evangelism
Unless you have multiple Christians in each course cohort, lots of the work of taking the gospel into your place of study will be done as individuals. There won’t usually be another Hub member present when you’re having a deep conversation with your lab partner about faith.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t support each other. Wouldn’t it be great if praying for each other in your personal evangelism was a regular feature of life in your Hub? Perhaps you could set aside regular time in your meeting to pray for friends – or use your group chat as a place to send prayer points. As a leader, you can model asking for prayer for your own conversations with coursemates, and see how that shapes the culture of your group.
Consider too how you can get alongside each other in befriending and evangelising to coursemates. As friendships grow within your Hub, take the opportunity to mingle friendship groups. The more positive relationships someone has with Christians, the more interesting Jesus will be to them.
As well as supporting others’ personal evangelism, there’s lots you can do to take the gospel out to the science faculty together. Here are four practical ideas.
Practical ideas for mission together
Use your Hub as a space to invite friends
It’s an obvious place to start - but to what extent do you think Hub members would feel comfortable inviting coursemates along to your Hub? If they wouldn’t – is there something that needs to change to make it more accessible? Joining a Christian community based in the science faculty is a great first step for someone for whom going along to church might seem intimidating. Could your Hub be used as follow-up for other CU events?
First contact evangelism in your department
It’s likely that your CU already does some kind of first contact evangelism or flyering ahead of events. Why not get your Hub together and do some first contact in the science area of campus together? You could use a whiteboard with an interactive question that will appeal to science students – marking a point on a scale with two axes always goes down well!
Meal with a message
Particularly if your Hub have some shared friendships in the department, a meal with a message is a low-key, relaxed event which is great for starting up conversations about Jesus. Cook dinner, invite some friends, and get a scientist from your church to come along and share a bit about their career and the impact their faith has had. Check out this guide on running a meal with a message.
A sci-fi movie night with discussion is another great event to get science students opening up about deep topics. It could be a great event to put on ahead of your CU’s mission week, as a platform to invite people along to lunchtime and evening talks. Find a guide to hosting a movie night here.