blog | 25.09.20
Starting university is a really significant time in life and full of so many changes. It can be daunting, unpredictable and challenging. We also recognise that during this Covid season you will face many uncertainities and different anxieties. At the same time, sport is a place to flourish as you seek to worship God with your sporting gifts and abilities and find opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. To help you do this and live out your faith, here are six top tips we pray you find helpful.
Being plugged into a church family where you will be taught God's word faithfully is essential whilst at university.
If you’ve not started yet, why not make contact with a church even before arriving at university? Listen to the advice of people you trust who know the area well and know what is important to look for in a university church, rather than making a decision for other reasons. Avoid church surfing for too long – take in the church scene and commit to one early, regardless of all the free meals you could get!
Hint – Most CUs will do a ‘church search’ - online for now – find your university's CU and see what they’re doing.
You can quite literally reinvent yourself at university. Who do you want to be known as? What do you want to be known for? Start the first few weeks calling yourself a Christian, living for Jesus, speaking about your Christian life then that’s how you will be known. This will be tough, but in the long run it's so much easier starting this way than fitting in with everyone and then trying to squeeze Jesus in a few months later. Ask God to help you start boldly and honestly and you'll be amazed at the opportunities that come.
What does this look like in a Covid world?
Get involved early doors in whatever the sports club has to offer. The beginning couple of months may potentially be more social than playing sport which can be frustrating but this is an amazing opportunity to build and grow friendships. Stay in the lives of your teammates. Be proactive in trying to spend time with them whether that is watching a film, playing football in the park together, going to the gym or perhaps (if permitted) training and playing together.
When, and if, you're able to play sport then appreciate university provides some of the best sporting experiences of your life. Every coach wants good commitment and attitude from the start. Show how much you love your God-given gift of sport by being committed to training and the club from the off.
In a normal year these would often take place in the first few weeks of term. At the moment it will be very different. That said, it is worth thinking about how to approach them as and when they happen.
In 1 Peter chapter 2, Peter calls the recipients of the letter, in light of their identity as God's set apart people (1 Peter 2:9-10), to live distinctively for God among those who don't believe (1 Peter 2:11-12), even when it's tough. What does it look like to live distinctively in an initiation, not getting drunk (Ephesians 5:18) but living with self-control?
Initiations whilst intending to be fun and test commitment might prove a challenge. We need to ask God to help us approach them with good intentions. Listen to our podcast all about socials and initiations to find out more about what they may look like and how you might handle them.
Jesus gives His followers this task in Matthew 28:18-20. New starts, quality time, meals, library sessions, open minds all get thrown into the ring of ‘university life’. However as you start to find your feet, you soon realise that your new stage of life actually provides you with one of the greatest opportunities to explain the good news of Jesus with people who might never have heard it before. So go for it, knowing that Jesus will be with us always!
During this season there will be a need to be even more creative and work out how to continue to spend social time with those you are playing or competing with.
Pray that you’ll remember your identity is firmly rooted in Jesus. Pray for opportunities to grow relationships with your teammates regardless whether you're able to be playing or not.
And pray for opportunities to speak of Christ in a new environment.
Do let us know if you’re starting at university this Autumn and we can help connect you up with your Christians in Sport group.
Photo used under Creative Commons from RO Photography.
Christians in Sport is a UK based charity that aims to reach the world of sport for Christ. We mainly work with sportspeople in competitive and elite sport.
Registered Charity England and Wales 1086570.
Registered Charity Scotland SCO45299.
Company number: 4146081
Photos (c) Shutterstock unless specified