ADVERTISING
 
Monday, February 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Is the sexual exploitation of women an issue in your city?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Analysis
 

Students in Europe: Friendship is the key to sharing the gospel

The cultural context of universities in Bulgaria, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain and Denmark is very different. But Christian student movements agree on one thing: non-believers discover the Christian faith through deep personal relationships with believers:

AUTHOR Joel Forster , Evangelical Focus MADRID 17 DECEMBER 2015 12:25 h GMT+1
students, grill, GBU España, university, questions, evangelism Christians respond to open questions about their faith in a Spanish university. / GBU España

Thousands of students around the world gather in small groups to pray, read the Bible and engage with the wider university community. But how do they share the gospel with their colleagues on campus?



The cultural context shapes the activities of these Christian Unions. Conferences, courses, Arts exhibitions, summer camps, inductive Bible studies, concerts in cafés… The aim is to speak about Jesus to their friends.



But, if they had to choose one single element that makes a difference when talking about their faith on campus, what would it be?



Five evangelical student movements in Europe answered to Evangelical Focus: UKH Czech Republic, BCSU Bulgaria, IFES Netherlands, GBU Spain and KFS Denmark. They all agree, real friendships are the best context to share the gospel with a non-Christian.



 



DENMARK: FRIENDS, FOOD, AND THE GOSPEL



The Danish Christian student movement KFS brings together about 1,500 students. “These meet in 90 different groups at their high school or university all over Denmark”, Kathrine Kjær, a volunteer working with the movement, explains.



 



The Danish student movement.

Christians organise event weeks in the university campuses where everyone is invited to attend a ‘lunchbar’ (short talk in a classroom and some food). In the evenings, the meetings “include a relevant presentation of the topic of the week.”



Two years ago the Danish groups “published the ‘Uncover’ seekers bible study material and in the last school year it has been used in eleven of KFS’ seekers biblestudy groups.”



What is popular among Christian high school groups are ‘waffle-nights’: “We have heard stories from groups where most of their high school attend one of these nights.”



But if they had to point out one single aspect that defines mission amongst students in their social context it would be real friendships. “Here in Denmark we see that one of the most important parts of bringing the gospel to students is that Christian students build a friendship to fellow students and through that get a chance to tell the gospel.”



 



SPAIN: “PREJUDICES AGAINST ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS ‘RELIGIOUS’”



“A faith that reasons. A reason that believes”, is the motto of the Spanish University Bible Groups (GBU). About 600 students in 47 cities are active members of these groups.



Many non-believers learn about Jesus after coming to creative activities on campus like “Experimento Marcos” (a representation of the gospel of Mark). The “Uncover” seeker Bible studies are also being used here in small-group discussions.



 



Students read the Bible with other students. / GBU



But the key, according to staff worker Antonio Ruiz, is “evangelism through personal relationships.” Spain has become a very “sceptic” country in the last decades, and “there are prejudices against anything that sounds ‘religious’.”



“It is crucial, therefore, to share the Christian faith in a context of friendship and trust”, he emphasises.



 



NETHERLANDS: DO CHRISTIANS UNDERSTAND RELEVANCE OF THE GOSPEL?



In the Netherlands, about 3,000 students in 24 cities are members of the IFES Nederland groups. AlphaStudents courses (which are very good for nominal Christians), mission weeks, and seeker Bible studies are some of the most fruitful projects in Netherlands.



 



The Dutch Christian student movement.

“We are grateful for many Chinese students coming to faith”, says IFES Nederland representative Kristian Haverkamp.



Other interesting activities are “general courses for Christians and non-Christians about topics like ‘dating’ and ‘making choices’ organised with both Christian and non-Christian trainers facilitating discussion about meaning of life.”



But evangelism is not always a priority among students: “Those who are members of IFES-Nederland are 98% from a Christian background. Most of them have no zeal to reach out for their fellow students. Often they experience/think that the Gospel is irrelevant for their friends because they haven’t a clear understanding of what is the relevance of the Good News for themselves.”



 



BULGARIA: “LIVING AND LEARNING TOGETHER WITH NON-CHRISTIANS”



In Eastern Europe, Christian student groups growing. The Bulgarian Christian Student Union (BCSU) unites 120 students in 8 cities “and we hope to expand to at least three more in the coming year or two”, explains Liz Howald, member of the group.



In the country, “the most fruitful evangelistic effort has been the Summer Project, a cross cultural exchange between BSCU and at least two other IFES groups”.



“The Bulgarian Christian students are told that to be a part of the project they need to bring a non-Christian friend. The content of the project is not blatantly Christian, but over ten days spent living and learning together these non-Christian students get a better understanding of who Christians are, and become more open to learning about Jesus.”



 



A national camp in Bulgaria. / BCSU



It is important to understand that “mission in Bulgaria is very relational, involving a lot of intentional friendship, time, and trust building.”



“Most Bulgarians are taught not to trust Christians, that Christians are strange or part of a cult, so the first step to mission is to overcome that, through friendship”, Howald explains.



In this sense, “one-on-one evangelistic conversations with classmates” are the most natural way to share the gospel, Howald concludes.



 



CZECH REPUBLIC: STUDENT-LED MISSION



Finally, in the Czech Republic, about 150 students meet in 10 groups. “All groups are student-led and one group is purely international”, Tomas Uher, secretary general of UKH Czech Republic explains.



“The most exercised way of evangelism is through personal witness. Students pray for their friends together and share how God works in their friends' lives. After learning important lessons regarding follow-up they run the second year of mission week this year.”



 



Sutdents pray together in the Czech Republic. / UKH



What is the one key idea in mission? “I would say it is students' initiative to share Jesus among their friends. Whether it is through an event or personal conversation. Student's ownership of the ministry is very important for us and we see some fruit in Jesus entering not only in the heart but the whole of life.” 



 



IFES: THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS SHARING THE GOSPEL



The biggest evangelical student movement in the world is IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students), which unites about 600,000 evangelical students in 160 countries.



Every national association organises itself. But all movements share some aims that define their vision. Some of these aspects are the priority of speaking about Jesus on campus, the centrality of the Bible in everything (mostly studied through inductive bible studies), cultural adaptation of the gospel, student leadership and work alongside local churches. 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - Students in Europe: Friendship is the key to sharing the gospel
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
A marriage story A marriage story

The  great love story for everyone.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.