ADVERTISING
 
Tuesday, October 23   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
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



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
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
 
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.