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An intentional approach to student ministry

CMS missionaries Arthur and Tamie Davis are passionate about gospel ministry to university students. They work with TAFES—the Tanzanian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which is part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). They share how TAFES workers are thinking strategically in their approach to campus ministry. 

How do you make an impact among students?

This has been the question two TAFES staff members have recently posed to Arthur who is coaching them.

In a city like Dar es Salaam, there are so many campuses for staff workers to visit that initially, all they manage to do is turn up and say hi. Over the last two years of meeting with Arthur, Msemo has progressed from simply visiting, to chatting with leaders afterwards, to being invited to advise them—and he’s now looking at a deeper level of connection which he has dubbed “strategic journeying.”

He has come to see that having a presence at a large group event, while important in a communal culture, has limited impact on students’ lives. Instead he wants to focus his time on student leaders, both one to one and in groups.

Msemo says about meeting with Arthur, “We have managed to break down a lot of problems. It has been so helpful.” In the photo we are with his fiancée, Stella.

Meanwhile, after a year on staff in Dar es Salaam, Monica has been posted to Mwanza, the fastest-growing city in Tanzania. She’s now responsible for student fellowships in at least seven campuses and finds herself spread thin. As she meets with Arthur, she’s trying to work out where to spend her time: try and cover all fellowships, or invest in a few at more depth?

Staff give up a lot to come and work for TAFES, and many experience family pressure to move on, so Monica wants to know that what she’s doing is worth it! Already she has identified 4 fellowships that could particularly benefit from her attention, and has started mentoring five students. She also wants to give time to three other students who have recently expressed interest in joining staff.

As the Lord multiplies campus ministry in Tanzania, the challenge for TAFES is to grow its staff presence so that students are effectively equipped to reach the campus. At the moment this means staff shouldering both the administrative and event management burden on one hand, and seeking time to invest in mentoring and training of leaders on the other—not an easy balance to strike!

Please pray for wisdom, creativity and insight for these staff workers, and that they would indeed have an impact among students and on campus for the glory of God. Continue to pray for TAFES’s financial situation would stabilise so that staff can continue to stay on.

Monica (right) says, “Talking with Arthur has helped me to see what is happening, what to do, and where I’ve reached. If I had kept quiet it would not have been good, but here I can see the way out. It is really helping.”

PRAY 

Please pray for wisdom, creativity and insight for these staff, and that they would indeed have an impact among students and on campus.