,

Is it worth it?

Throughout the 11 years that I have been working with the GBU, many times I have asked myself why I do what I am doing and if it really is worth it…

In other words, does it make sense to strive for the proclamation of the gospel in universities? There are so many important ministries out there and I want to be sure that I am dedicating my time and energy to something that is really worth striving for.

For this reason, I would briefly like to share three reasons why I still believe that is it extremely important that we bring the gospel of Christ into universities:

1. The gospel needs to be preached wherever knowledge is put on a pedestal above God

The apostle Paul tells us that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1), and it is true! We can clearly see this in universities. Increasingly, in the minds of many people, especially those with a greater level of education, there seems to be a clear distinction between everything that is rational, ascertainable, or can be empirically demonstrated and anything that concerns faith, God, and religion. In a contest in which human pride rises up against its own Creator, we need to be ambassadors who humbly and confidently proclaim the message about Jesus of Nazareth, for the salvation of those who consequently choose to follow him. Read more

, , ,

Ready, steady… go!

f_gbu

 

When Giovanni Donato suggested I attend the GBU Student Leaders Training, from 30th September to 3rd October 2016 in the small town of Rocca di Papa near Rome, I have to admit that it seemed a strange idea to me. I thought, “In Ancona (the city where I live), there isn’t even a local GBU group. Why should I receive training for a role that doesn’t even exist and of which there’s no hope at my university?” … But wait, let’s rewind.

In January, after years of having attended national GBU events and activities, God laid on my heart the desire to establish a group in Ancona – a university made up of many departments and, therefore, with a great need for Jesus to be shared from student to student. So I got to work and began looking for Christian students with the same desire that God had given me, both in my own church and in other churches around the city. I managed to forge contacts with quite a few students, but unfortunately nothing concrete was established. I then left Ancona to spend a semester studying abroad, and returned to Italy in August. That brings us to 5th September, the day I had that conversation with Giovanni about the Training. Since many of the students I’d met at the GBU Weekend Away in April had warmly encouraged me to attend the Training weekend, I decided to go.

There were 27 of us students (approx. one or two per GBU group, all from various universities across Italy), and we were all gathered and ready for a weekend of intense preparation to equip us in tackling the upcoming academic year as we lead our local groups. The whole weekend was centred around a single theme: Be holy, because I am holy (1 Peter). Read more

,

A new GBU group in Padua

We are very happy to be able to share with you the things that have happened here in Padua over the last few months. As you may already know, for a few years now we have been lacking a stable GBU group at the University of Padua. I found this out in the last years of High School, when I was considering the various universities nearby and hearing more about the various GBU groups in existence. Along with a sense of sadness to not have found anything a desire grew in my heart to start something myself, a desire that only began to take shape with the start of this academic year when a good friend (who had been a co-ordinator of a GBU group for years in Pisa) put me in contact with Chris.

Near the middle of October, after a few weeks, we met to see what we could do and to pray for the birth GBU Padova 1of a new group. In the meantime, we were joined by Emily, an English girl in Padua for Erasmus. We thank the Lord for how he has guided every thing in the course of this semester, what seemed uncertain and difficult He has made possible! At the first meeting there were four of us, we were joined by two other girls: Jessica and Gloria. None of us had had any experience with the GBU, after the initial bewilderment and shyness our first meeting continued with great serenity but was also very exciting, we had the opportunity to get to know each other a little, to share our testimonies and think about how to organise the meetings of our little group. Finally something concrete was born, a response to our prayers and hopes and once again I could see how the Lord does not fail to give an answer to those who want to serve Him. We have decided to study the Gospel of John together, as it is a great place to start thanks to the richness of the verses it contains. After a few weeks we were joined by three more students (Marco, Elie and Naomi) who started to frequent our meetings. Their presence has been a further encouragement and together we have continued with our reading and meditation of John. Read more

,

How do you measure success

Here we are at the start of a new academic year with the honour, responsibility, challenge and pleasure of “shining out like bright stars among a warped and crooked generation, holding out the Word of life”!

Whether you are a seasoned student with a long list of successes and failures, or a freshman, feeling that mix of excitement and nervousness over the possibility of getting involved with the GBU, I want to ask you the question, “How do you  easure the success of your evangelistic efforts?” How do you establish whether the effort made has achieved its goal or whether you have failed and so will have to adopt a completely different method and approach next time?

My answer has always been, consciously or unconsciously, to count the number of people who convert, or at least the number of people who have been touched by the message. Or, when I really want to hold on to the smallest acceptable result, I count how many have been “reached”, how many people were present at the event with whom I managed to talk about the Gospel.

Perhaps you could come up with a game of awarding points, three for converts, two for those interested and one for those reached.

I have been frustrated countless times because my score was too low. There are certainly many reasons why an approach like this to evangelism is wrong. Rather than trying to list them, I invite you to look at the book of the prophet Jonah, as we have done recently in Naples together with some members of GBU Potenza.

Read the whole book – it only takes a few minutes – and afterwards ask yourselves, “Who was God’s work focused on?”

It is surprising to note that in a book that talks about the salvation of more than 120 thousand people, God’s attention seems to be mainly focused on the individual who had been chosen to deliver a message.

In contrast to the other prophetic books, the book of Jonah gives very little attention to the message the prophet was called to proclaim. And the receivers
of the message themselves do little more than appear. Jonah, on the other hand is called, corrected, used, rebuked and accompanied by God throughout the whole story. The whole book is devoted to his transformation (we could also say conversion), albeit an incomplete one.

God does not need us to bring His message to the students in our universities, but He has chosen us because He wants to complete a work in us.

This year, try to evaluate what you have learned about God after every effort you’ve made to evangelise, and leave the rest faithfully in His hands!

Francesco Schiano

(Staff GBU Naples)