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A challenge to be fearless and faithful

Date posted: 16/01/18

A challenge to be fearless and faithful

 

Welcome to part four of the Internship blog as Rob Stileman kicks us off in 2018 with a look back at Clubhouse Xtra. Rob is a keen cricketer, a junior coach at Brackley Town Football Club and part of The Source church in the town.

Clubhouse Xtra is effectively a mid-season pre-season as students are inspired and equipped for  the second half of the academic year. With 139 students attending across the two locations in England and Northern Ireland, Clubhouse Xtra 2018 promised to be the best one yet.

I loved Clubhouse Xtra when I was at university. The opportunity to spend a few days playing sport, meeting other sports-loving Christian students and receiving great teaching was one I relished every January. But not only did I enjoy it, it also helped me to see the cricket club at Warwick University as the place I was to be an ambassador for Christ. It gave me the passion and the skills to clearly and faithfully share the gospel with my teammates.

A challenge to be fearless and faithfulApproaching this year’s Clubhouse Xtra I was both intrigued and excited in equal measure. Intrigued to see what it would be like facilitating, rather than just attending, Clubhouse Xtra and excited to see current students grasp the vision of living out their faith and seeking to make Christ known in their respective university sports clubs.

It is safe to say that Clubhouse Xtra 2018 not only lived up to, but surpassed all my expectations. It was amazing!

Central to the conference was the idea of a sports stadium. We, as Christians, are running the race of faith in our respective ‘lanes’ (ie - our sports clubs) and look to share the gospel with those watching on, in the stands - sports players who don't follow Jesus. The main room was even set up like an athletics stadium, with lanes on the floor, a finish line at one end and the seats being arranged in rows, to help reinforce the metaphor.

In keeping with this, the seminars were split into two large themes of ‘On the Track’ (looking at how we run the race in our sport) and ‘In the Stands’ (looking at how we can engage those in the stands with the gospel).

The main meetings saw talks themed around ‘A Greater Glory’. Specifically, the challenge was to be ‘fearless’ as we seek to share the greater glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 3 v 7-18), to be ‘faithful’ in how we present the gospel, trusting God’s power to do the saving work in people’s hearts (2 Corinthians 4 v 1-7), to to ensure we do not lose heart by being ‘focussed’ on what is unseen rather than seen (2 Corinthians 4 v 8-18) and to go ‘forward’ as Christ’s ambassadors in our various sports clubs (2 Corinthians 5 v 16-21). These were convicting and motivating in equal measure.

However, talk is one thing, actions are another. The real challenge for all of us who attended, students, Interns and staff, is to then put what we have learnt into practice and be fearless and faithful with the gospel in our various sporting contexts. So on the final morning, students were grouped by university and by region to strategise for the term ahead.

Alongside these plans, Christian Union events weeks are being organised at universities around the country. With lunchbar and evening events all week, these provide plenty of opportunities for people to explore the Christian faith for themselves. I know many of the students at Clubhouse Xtra will be using these to help reach their teammates with the gospel.

A challenge to be fearless and faithful

Practising sharing our faith on the team bus - that's me at the front in my Harlequins shirt

Of particular note for me and the other Interns is the Edinburgh Universities Events week (29th January to 2nd February). As a group we will be heading to Scotland’s capital, along with a number of Christians in Sport staff, to help run the week there.

Clubhouse Xtra also proved a great springboard for last week’s trip to Moldova. Here, we taught the same material at a conference for young sportspeople, many of whom were hearing the good news for the first time. You can read more about this in March’s blog entry.

All in all it promises to be a superb second term on the Internship and I am buzzing for what is in store.


 

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Applications are now open for the 2018-19 Internship. Click here for more information.