This is going to be a school year like no other. Colleges and universities have moved their classes online. Some students are choosing to live back home in a different city from their school. In-person gatherings are limited. The options for campus clubs are more restricted too.
So what will student life look like this year? How do you make new friends when everything is online? Where can you find Christian community and places to go deeper in your faith?
At Power to Change – Students, we trust that God knows what will happen this year and how it will be used for his purposes and glory. And we want to help students like you transition into this unique and strange semester.
On Sunday, August 30th, we hosted an online event called “Launch and Lounge,” with the purpose of inspiring hope for the upcoming school year. Without many of our regular in-person opportunities to meet first-year students, we hosted this event to facilitate these new friendships and to introduce new students to fellow Christians at their school and in their city.
This two-hour event was broken into two parts: the first half was an interactive program with audience polls, student stories, and biblical teaching; and the second half was organized in various local Zoom calls, depending on your campus.
One student, Ayl, from the University of Ottawa, was eager to find Christian community in her first year, and found P2C was loving, welcoming, and Christ-centred. Her Discipleship Group (Bible study) was the highlight of her week. The biggest impact P2C had in her life was becoming more missions-minded. Ayl participated in our Digital Mission Trip this summer, and God grew her heart for sharing the gospel with others who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to hear.
Ayl shared this tip for new students: commit to a local church, especially if you’re living away from home. Your faith will grow in weekly preaching of the Word, corporate worship, and learning from older believers. She also encouraged other students to not look down on themselves because they are young (1 Timothy 4:12), because God can work through you at any age, including when you’re a student.
Another student story came from Elissa, who recently graduated from the University of Toronto. She grew up in a Christian family, and heard that a lot of students lose their faith when they go to university. In her first year, she connected with P2C on her campus, and saw people who loved Jesus and were passionate about sharing the gospel. Elissa thought she would never be as good as them, so she stopped going. But in second year, she started coming out to P2C events again. People were persistent in loving and inviting her!
“I never expected or desired it, but God changed my life forever during my time at university, and through P2C.” – Elissa
While attending a conference with P2C-Students, Elissa deeply experienced God for the first time, and she truly believed that God loved her and redeemed her. She thought it would have been a conference high, but over time, God kept working in her life. He gave Elissa more Japanese friends, and she was able to befriend them and share Jesus with them. She saw that God was using her Japanese ethnicity for his glory to reach international students for Christ.
“I hope you guys can look forward to this year and your time in university, knowing that God will be shaping unexpected and amazing stories of his work in your lives too.” – Elissa
Andy Smits, the national director of P2C-Students, shared a message that encouraged us to shift our perspective in this unique and challenging year: from asking “What is going on?” to “God, what is going on?” Our lives may be disrupted in many ways right now, but we can also encounter God in a significant way. This year, let’s put ourselves in a position to hear from and experience God. He is present with us in the mess, and he can work in the midst of the mess. So throughout the year, ask: “God, what are you doing, and how can I help?”
“Our heart for you this year is that you would take steps to know and follow Jesus in the midst of anything else that 2020 may bring along.” – Andy Smits
The guest speaker for the night was Vijay Krishnan, the lead pastor at The Well. Building off of Andy’s message, Vijay encouraged students to think bigger in their college and university years. As a college or university student, you may ask yourself, “What am I doing this for?” Often the goals of going to school include wealth, power, fame, and beauty. But the relentless pursuit of these things ultimately falls short. So what’s the point? What is there to live for?
Jesus offers us a twofold purpose: to be changed, and to be a change. What if these two things marked your life this year? The posture of our lives are not to be turned in and staring at ourselves, but looking out at the world that is desperate for creativity, beauty, transformation, love, grace, and humility. We are invited as followers of Jesus to change the world and be a part of bringing God’s kingdom here.
“I just want to encourage you this year…build your life around the community of Jesus. He did not invite you to live the faith journey alone, but he invites you to do it with others: to be changed together and to be a change.” – Vijay Krishnan
Vijay explained that the key for these changes to happen (to be changed and to be a change) is community. Jesus first gathered together a community of followers and started the church through those people. Only when you’re in community do you realize your need to change, when it exposes all the things in you that aren’t selfless, or loving, or patient, or kind. Community is the soil where transformation can happen, both within the community and together impacting the world. Jesus invites you to do this faith journey together. Your neighbourhood and city and campus will be turned upside down through the grace, service, friendship, reconciliation, and unity coming out of your community.
Want to hear more from Vijay? You can watch Vijay Krishnan’s full message on Instagram.
So, as we enter into this strange school year in the midst of a global pandemic, how will you open yourself to be used by God? How is God going to change your life, and use you to change others’ lives? At P2C-Students, we want every student to walk closer with Jesus and experience life in him, all of us taking steps to know and follow him.
We invite you to get connected with a P2C community at your school or in your city. We have a ton of other students who are excited to have you join their P2C family!
Fill out this connect form: p2c.sh/launchgetinvolved
Look for your campus on our website.