There’s an interesting interview with UCCF director, Richard Cunningham over at Adrian Warnock’s blog. It’s interesting to see Adrian’s perspective (with his roots in NFI). His comments that in the past there has been some CU’s who have not been very accepting of people from charismatic backgrounds. were accepted by Richard, which I suppose adds some balance to the fact that many reformed conservatives feel equally excluded, a point which Richard also touches on later.
But of most interest are Richard’s very encouraging answers are to do with the way that CU’s (should) relate to churches. Here are some highlights:
The Christian Unions is a partnership between students, staff and supporters all of whom are encouraged to be committed to a local church. A CU does not have the breadth and depth of age, maturity and gifting to be a substitute for church… The health of many CUs is greatly affected by the presence of lively, Bible teaching churches in the vicinity.
There are 2 main pitfalls. One is when a CU misunderstands itself and begins to ape a church by putting on more and more meetings… This could lead to some students not having enough time to get involved in a local church… The other is when a local church misunderstands the nature of a CU and criticizes the existence of student led bible study groups…
The fact that Richard acknowledges the pitfalls, whilst remaining clear about the principles that should be in place, I find very encouraging. It’s a credit to UCCF leadership, and a testimony to the grace of God, that so much has been and is being achieved in CU’s up and down the country. Many (perhaps most?) CU’s are a shining light, and a real example to commitment to God and to mission.
But we need to pray that the committment to real church-partnership, around central gospel truths seen right at the top of the UCCF, does find its way down to the grassroots in all situations. And we need to pray that students start loving God and His Word and sharing it’s message before they get to university, and not just whilst they are there. Perhaps then students would have a higher regard for local churches than many of them currently do.