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Why student ministry?

CMS missionary Gillian Law is serving in Italy and reflects here on why she became involved in student ministry.

Why did I get involved with student ministry?

There are so many ways I could answer this question.

I could say it was because of my own experience at university both as a student involved with ES (Evangelical Students, the Christian group at the University of Queensland) and as a staff-worker with UNEchurch at the University of New England (Armidale). Here, I witnessed firsthand two strategic impacts of student ministry. Firstly, I saw people become Christians: undergraduate years are a key transition in life where people have the time and freedom to explore ideas. When presented with the truth of Jesus, many took hold of the gospel and committed their lives to him. Secondly, I saw young Christians – myself included – laying down patterns of conviction and living that have affected the rest of their adult life. The university years are a wonderful opportunity to train students to serve Christ in every part of life, wherever they end up after graduation.

I could say it’s because I’m persuaded about what is of first importance. New graduates are supposed to have a proficient understanding of engineering, law, teaching, town-planning or whatever they studied in their chosen field. These things are crucial for our communities today and into the future. Yet, there is something else that will last beyond tomorrow. I’m struck by Paul who passed on to the Corinthians what was most important: “that Christ died for sins according to Scripture, was buried and was raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). A good education is fundamental and it’s vital that students are well-trained in their respective subject areas, but the news of the gospel is even more important. The opportunity to pass on the one message that brings eternal salvation to the next generation is as exciting as it is hard.

While both of these reasons are very true, my main reason for being involved with student ministry is to bring glory to Christ. It’s a conviction that has been growing since my own student days and is best described by Paul when he wrote to the ancient church in Rome about his ministry for Christ: ‘to bring about obedience of faith for the sake of his name among the nations’ (Romans 1:5). As one who now lives just a few kilometres north of Rome working among Italian students, I’m convinced the reason this ministry is crucial and why I want to be involved is to honour to the name of Jesus.