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Review: Shining Like Stars

Brown, Lindsay. Shining Like Stars: the power of the gospel in the world’s universities. IVP, 2007.

Reviewed by Claire Livingstone, serving alongside her husband Andrew in Lausanne, Switzerland where they work with the GBEU among international students.

Lindsay Brown’s short book invites you on a journey around the globe looking at student ministry, with inspiring stories of God at work through university students and graduates. Brown draws upon his extensive experience as General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (1991–2007) to share the encouraging stories from all corners of the world.

Transformed by grace, convicted by truth, and looking forward to the hope of eternity – Brown suggests that this is what inspires ordinary students to be salt and light on campuses around the world. Shining Like Stars has often been described as a ‘modern day Acts’ as the reader hears real-life stories of young people captivated by Christ, and using their energy and creativity in evangelism. It’s difficult not to be challenged, and even rebuked, by the accounts of the courage and willingness of such young people to lose everything for the sake of the gospel.

Drawing upon the account of Daniel in the Old Testament, Brown reminds readers that many centuries ago a young man was powerfully used by God to influence a whole nation. Brown links this to testimonies of modern day students who have gone on to positions of influence. He shares how they’ve stood firm in Christ, even in the most difficult circumstances. God’s faithfulness in the past continues through his people in the present.

Brown’s book emphasises some key themes in mission: God’s sovereignty and human effort, evangelism, world mission, social and political engagement, a biblical view of work, the reconciling power of the gospel, the call to sacrifice, and the need for perseverance.

Shining Like Stars is an encouraging read, and has practical suggestions for discipleship, cultivating a heart for mission, and praying for students. Our prayer is that God would use this book to spur his people on to see how he continues to use ordinary people to fulfill his plans and purposes.