Tempo di lettura: 3 minuti

How easy it is to lose or squander an inheritance. If you type the words “squandered inheritance” into Google a series of stories come up, one sadder than another:

“Woman inherits a fortune, squanders it all and ends up living on the street.”

“My brother squandered my mother’s money and now he won’t even contribute to the funeral expenses.”

“She spent 92,000 euros a month. The squandered inheritance of Lisa Marie Presley – daughter of Elvis.”

This year at the Festa GBU we thought about the legacy of the disciple of Christ, of what awaits the believer in the future. For those who live by faith in Christ today, the best is to come. It is not here in the present, it is in the future; and the disciple simply has to look up to contemplate it. 

We studied 3 passages to meditate on this secure future: 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 12:1-3 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

The characteristics of this inheritance

Peter urged us to rejoice in the fact that we are a guarded people for a guarded inheritance, all because of the Lord’s great mercy. Three words are used to describe this inheritance: incorruptible, spotless and unchangeable.

Incorruptible – Isaiah describes our existence as covered by a veil – a veil that covers the face of all peoples (Isaiah 25:6). Death. Any organism living in this world today is subject to the corruption of death that consumes and defiles everything. Except the believer’s inheritance. It is incorruptible!

Spotless – blemishes, impurity, darkness. It is perfect in every sense; it is the definition of beauty and can never be infected by our sin. It is spotless.

Unalterable – it is protected from death, and protected from wickedness and is also protected from time. It is an inheritance that does not grow old. The woodworm, the moth cannot destroy it. The rust, the sun will have no effect on it.

An inheritance guarded in heaven by the Lord for a people guarded by the power of God – the power that created the sun, the stars, the black holes, the Himalayas, the Mariana Trench. The power that raised Jesus from the dead! That same power is functioning as a shield around the heirs to bring them to the end of their journey. Let us celebrate the certainty of our inheritance!

The gaze fixed on the champion!

Instead, the author of the letter to the Hebrews explains that God’s children are a people who persevere to the end by fixing their gaze on Jesus. They run with perseverance, convinced of the possibility of finishing the race, throwing off every distraction and destroying every sin that would like to deceive the heir. They persevere with their eyes on Christ, the model, the means and the medal of faith.

The model, the example of how to run with perseverance. Look at his courage: he did not give up. Observe his conviction, focused on the goal. Reflect on his submission to the Father’s will, and note the chronology of faith: suffering now, joy in the future, cross first, crown later.

The means, because of his running, because of his perseverance, the believer today can run in the race of faith, confident that the road is no longer blocked by his sin. He can go all the way to the presence of the Father, thanks to Jesus!

The medal is what awaits the athlete of faith at the end of his run. Jesus himself is the prize of faith; he is the inheritance. The believer does not run to win a gold medal, or a yellow shirt, or the shield, or the world cup. The believer will receive at the end of this race, a much, much more precious thing-Jesus himself, incorruptible, spotless and unchangeable! We win him and he wins us!

Passing the baton

Paul with his last words implores his son in the faith, Timothy, to pass on the message of inheritance to the next generation. The heir is sure of his inheritance, sure that he will make it to the end of the race through God’s power and through his perseverance, is called to preach the word of inheritance to his and the next generation. And he is called to do so with urgency, with patience and with suffering.

Discouragements, disappointments, frustrations, obstacles, attacks and opposition are part of the believer’s life. Shame in the present, glory in the future. Cross today, crown on that day. Suffering now, yet our inheritance is incorruptible, unblemished and unalterable at Christ’s return. This is the living hope of Christ’s disciple! God will bring us through faith to that day and so let us run with perseverance, eyes fixed on the prize, on Jesus, proclaiming the Word to all.

Tempo di lettura: 5 minuti

By Davide Maglie, GBU Chairman

In the last few weeks I have been struck and deeply disturbed by news stories which have to do with the context in which the GBU operates. On the 1st of February news reached the press and national media about the suicide of a student at the Iulm University in Milan. A young woman whose name we do not know was found dead in the university toilets. Just over a month later, on 3 March, came the dramatic news of the suicide of a student at the Federico II University in Naples. Her name was Diana.

The student from Milan left a letter of farewell to her family, in which she tried to explain the reasons for her gesture. They can be traced back to a general sense of failure, to her not feeling equal to her family’s expectations and sacrifices to make her study. Instead, the student from Naples had constructed a false narrative about her course of study, and may not have been able to cope with the sense of shame or guilt. She had announced that she was close to graduating, when she was not. Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases. In the last three years, ten university students have taken their own lives. And these are just the known cases.

A challenge for the GBU

We must not underestimate the situation and take seriously the mental health of the students the GBU ministry deals with. On the 15th of February, following the shock of the suicide in Milan, Emma Ruzzon, President of the Student Council of the University of Padua, said during her speech at the opening of the academic year: “When did studying become a competition? When did training become secondary to performing? All we know is that a good life, a dignified life, is not ours by right, but something we have to deserve’. Words that should make us pause.

We must engage ourselves as a ministry and thus equip ourselves and raise awareness of our co-workers, especially our front line, to pay proper attention in recognising the signs of discomfort, of existential malaise, the non-verbal or indirectly expressed signals. But I want to add something personal, which may explain the reasons for my emotional upset at the news I am reporting.

My personal experience

I was a university student who experienced traumatic interruptions in his life: the person with whom I shared my exam preparation, my academic alter ego, was a friend, her name was Cristina, and she lost her life in a car accident on New Year’s Eve 1992. We had said goodbye to each other a few weeks earlier, in mid-December, with the commitment to resume the preparation of the exams of the common syllabus when we returned from the Christmas holidays. All the exams we had prepared together had gone well and we were encouraged by the results. This news produced an emotional upheaval in me, exacerbated by other traumas that had occurred, and made me unable to concentrate on studying.

At that time, I was “kept afloat” by active involvement in a church ministry, which occupied my days. However, guilt and feelings of inadequacy were burrowing inside me: I attended classes, but could in no way concentrate on reading the study texts. On several occasions I left the house to take exams, but I did not reach the classrooms where I was supposed to take them. I could not accept the death of that sensitive, intelligent and generous girl. I was angry with God and had entered a kind of black hole; and even if on the outside I smiled and said ‘it is all right, the Lord is good and will provide for my needs’ inside I was emotionally torn apart.

Eventually, the love of my biological and spiritual family helped me to redirect my life in a healthier and more satisfying direction. I overcame the acute phase of the crisis and managed to complete my studies. But I could never have done it alone. I remember well, even though I never spoke about it willingly and never in public, the frustration, indeed the depression, the anger, the sense of self-pity that had held me back and prevented me from progressing in my studies. 

Around us, bearers of hidden challenges

Dear staff and students who participate in GBU activities, I want to encourage you to look at those who relate to you as potential carriers of hidden challenges. If they feel judged by you, they will not truly open their hearts. If you present only normative models of high spirituality, they may smile at you and say “amen”, but you will not reach them where they are, at the heart of their conflicts. Be able to welcome and encourage, without judging. Bring out their sense of failure, their insecurities, their challenges by sharing your own. You do not have to recount every detail, just be honest and open, genuinely interested in their lives. 

I believe these words from Ecclesiastes can help us:

There is a time for everything,     and a season for every activity under the heavens:     a time to be born and a time to die,     a time to plant and a time to uproot,     a time to kill and a time to heal,     a time to tear down and a time to build,     a time to weep and a time to laugh,     a time to mourn and a time to dance,     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,     a time to search and a time to give up,     a time to keep and a time to throw away,     a time to tear and a time to mend,     a time to be silent and a time to speak,     a time to love and a time to hate,     a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

Ecclesiastes (3:1-11)

These words have an enormous magnetic force, a poetic flow that continues to shake us, to not leave us indifferent.

Within human existence lies both what is desirable and what we would gladly avoid, within a chronological cycle that takes the form of the oscillation of a clock, or rather a pendulum.  Qoelet/Ecclesiastes is not an idealist who optimistically hopes for a period of peace and celebration that can erase the less desirable dimension of existence. As the biblical scholar William P. Brown reminds us: ‘Every activity has its season and the seasons have their place in the rhythm of the eternal rotation, it is not appropriate to dance in time of mourning, weeping does not suit celebration, silence when the rights of the oppressed are at stake. Even hatred has its time, as the psalms of imprecation remind us.” The real challenge of the wise man is therefore to “recognise what time it is that you are living in.  Discern the appropriate and inappropriate time to say certain things, to perform certain actions.

An appeal

Dear reader, when “sharing Jesus” be open to the lives of the people you are addressing. You will need wisdom and discretion, at certain stages and moments; but you will also need courage and resourcefulness, when you have to ask “the questions that matter”, the most difficult ones, in order to reach the students where they are and really help them, in the stretch of the journey you will make together. There will be a time to walk together and then you will have to let go. This separation at the end of the study cycle is also natural and physiological.

Of course, we hope to find those students again later, having become mature and aware men and women, capable of picking up the baton and passing on to other generations that sense of wonder and awareness of life. Within a divinely inspired and Christologically oriented wisdom and, who knows, collaborators in various capacities of the GBU. But “there is a time for everything”, recognise the time you are living in and remain listening to God’s plans for your life.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11).

Tempo di lettura: 3 minuti

By Giovanni Donato, Staff GBU Siena

A new academic year has begun and, like every year, the GBU has organized  Formazione (Student Leaders Training Conference) –  which is attended by all those who will be student leaders for GBU. This year, I was asked to preach from the book of 2 Timothy, which I was honored and pleased to do!

2 Timothy is probably one of the most suitable texts for such a retreat, the purpose of which is to exhort, train, and challenge the GBU coordinators (student leaders). I say this because that is precisely what Paul wishes to do with Timothy in writing of this letter, and every exhortation, every rebuke, every challenge that Paul issues to the young leader Timothy is easily applicable to young student leaders who are about to begin a new academic year with enthusiasm, but not without concerns.

In our four days together we were able to consider and meditate on the entire letter, however below I would just like to highlight two main lessons from 2 Timothy:

The call to Christian leadership is a call to suffering

Several times in the four chapters that make up 2 Timothy, Paul mentions the word suffering; he encourages the young leader to be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel (1:8) and to patiently endure the suffering he will encounter in ministry (2:3, 4:5). Paul reminds Timothy that he too is suffering unashamedly for the sake of the gospel (1:12, 2:9), that he is also patiently enduring suffering for the sake of the elect (2:10), that his entire ministry has been marked by suffering (3:11); he informs him of the fact that he has been abandoned by all those who had been close to him up to that point (1:15, 4:9-10, 4:16) and how he had been violently attacked by someone whom he had until recently considered his friend (4:14-15). He makes it clear to Timothy that all who choose to be serious about God (“living piously”) will necessarily face persecution (3:12). Wow, put like that the call to leadership does not sound very inviting… However, Paul in this letter is not only saying that the call to leadership is only a call to suffering (thank God!), but it is also a glorious call!

The call to Christian leadership is a glorious call

In his letter, Paul repeatedly emphasizes the importance, honor, and even beauty of serving God. He reminds Timothy that the holy call to serve the King of kings is not received because of good conduct, but solely because of the glorious grace of God (1:9) that has been manifested to the world through the appearance of our Savior Jesus Christ (1:10). He explains to him that such a glorious calling is worth suffering (1:12) and that God is the one who will uphold us by his power (1:8) and guard us carefully until the day when we can lay down our arms (1:12). He exhorts young Timothy to invest time and energy into people who would one day take his place so that the flame of the gospel could continue to stay burning and be passed on throughout the unfolding of history (2:2); he urges him to watch over, care for and protect the body of Christ (2:14, 3:1-9), watching over it with love, humility, patience and consistency (2:15-16, 2:22-25). He called on him to preach God’s inspired Word faithfully and passionately (4:2), to use the gifts God had given him (1:6), and to faithfully fulfill the service the Lord had entrusted to him (4:5) because at the end of this great adventure, entry into God’s heavenly kingdom (4:18a) and the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous judge, would award to all those who joyfully awaited Jesus’ return (4:8)

Through the study of this letter we were able to do what Paul desired to do with Timothy through the writing of this letter: to exhort young Christian leaders to faithfully serve the Lord, not to be surprised or upset when they encounter suffering in their journey, and to always remember that the holy call to serve King Jesus is a glorious call that has been given to us by the grace of God and for which it is worth even suffering and dying, waiting for the day when we will meet him in glory.

Happy New Year and happy service to all GBU coordinators and to all those in the body of Christ who hold leadership and responsibility!

Tempo di lettura: 2 minuti
Elena Montaldocoordinator of GBU Torino 

As someone who studies Primary Education (ed: education = training), the word “training,” has a special value.

Its meaning is not summed up in the systematic transmission of knowledge, but indicates a desire to render someone competent. In other words, they are able to rework and apply that same knowledge that they learnt in the context of reality. This is possible only if there is a social network that provides those being trained, stimuli to which they can respond.

Student Leaders Training

This year’s Student Leaders Training meant all of the above to me and even more. It was  more than a context where students from all over Italy gathered for three days in Florence to listen to teaching, study the Bible together and participate in various  seminars. Here I even had the opportunity to lead an inductive Bible study, a prayer meeting, as well as planninng events and meetings for the new GBU students and to share GBU with university students in Florence itself.   

For the first time as a coordinator, after years of participation in the GBU, I felt that I was an irreplaceable part of a project that has Love as its engine and People’s Lives as its goal.

The theme

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul speaks as a father who, shortly before his death, addresses his son. The very one who had been the author of massacres, violence and persecution of Christians, after meeting Jesus, finds himself writing in prison, abandoned by all and condemned to death because of his faith in Him. 

An absurd decision in the eyes of many, but not to his own who saw joy flowing from his suffering. With his life, until his last breath, Paul had in fact led many souls to receive the salvation that comes from faith in the One who first gave His life and rose again to give them Life forever.

Reading and studying his words together with other students who, like me, received that same news and chose to believe and live for this same reality – I felt like the recipient,  together with Timothy, of that same letter. 

Let’s start again

During our Student Leaders Training we coordinators were confronted with an example of faith that laid bare our fears, insecurities and worries that anyone, in living to the fullest an ideal that goes against the grain, faces sooner or later, and then removed them. Together we understood the deep meaning of the ministry we believe has been entrusted to each of us Christian students within the GBU.

I realized how much courage and strength it can take to consistently maintain this life choice. At the same time, I realized even more deeply how worthwhile it is to live it out fully so that more and more people will know the Love and grace that the God of the Bible has shown, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, in order to have a personal relationship with each of them.

Now we are ready to begin again, each where he or she lives in Italy. This time, however, with the knowledge that everything we do in our own small way has a common goal and a joy that springs even in suffering.

Tempo di lettura: 3 minuti

After two years in which the FESTA GBU (National Student Gathering) was held online (due to the pandemic), this year we were able to meet again in person. From Trento to Messina, we university students, graduates and staff rejoiced, studied and spent a few days together surrounded by the Florentine hills at Poggio Ubertini.


Stefano Mariotti guided us and shared with us some reflections on Peter’s first letter written “to the elect who live as strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). This is precisely where the title of the Festa comes from, “Far from Home“, an expression very familiar to us students. In addition, among other activities, there were some seminars that gave us the opportunity to cover topics such as interacting with the university, using social media to share the gospel, organising evangelistic events, and inviting a friend to read the Bible.


During our studies, I loved it when we would break up into small groups. We would read a few verses, share our observations, and begin to ponder their meaning with the help of some  guiding questions. Afterwards, we would all gather together and Stefano would delve into some of the themes more specifically. In the first chapter of his letter, the Apostle Peter talks about two important topics: joy and suffering. Personally, it made me think a lot when Stefano asked us what we rejoice in, and particularly when he said that sometimes we make our joy dependent on a circumstance, an event, or often a person; consequently, our mood will depend on how things turn out. I immediately thought of the verse from Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I repeat: rejoice.” It was important for me to remember to base our joy in God because He is our safe haven and He is faithful.

Another thing that encouraged me was when the Apostle Peter argues that the sufferings the recipients of his writing go through are necessary and that we should not be surprised; in fact, he says, “ Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13). Through these words and thinking about how God sustains us even during difficulties, I was spurred on since He is our “cornerstone” (1 Peter 2: 6), essential and necessary for our lives. Sometimes difficulties are needed to grow and help others to grow, as Stefano shared, our hope in Christ.


The Festa GBU was also important because it was an opportunity to continue cultivating the friendships that were born and that continue to be born in GBU. Building relationships that you can count on is really precious. Talking to other students and staff, sharing the activities carried out in your local GBU group over the past months, the events that have been organised and those that will take place soon, the ideas but also the difficulties that you encounter… These conversations really encouraged me  to continue to bring Jesus to the universities. When I think of the GBU as a group made up of so many students and friends with the same objective, it gives me courage.

To conclude, I can say with certainty that that weekend was a blessed time, expectations were greatly exceeded as God used so many people to support us, to show us once again the love he has for us, how precious we are to him and how much he cares about our lives. We were encouraged once again to be a light in our faculties and talk about Jesus to our friends and fellow university students.

Giada Coppola (Coordinatrice GBU Parma)

Tempo di lettura: 2 minuti

There aren’t many contexts like university, at least spiritually.  Every day we’re assaulted by the assumption that every “good”, even the best “goods”, can be reached if we humans just put in enough effort.  In today’s university departments, there’s little room for the spiritual: at most, it gets relegated strictly to the private, personal realm that has little or nothing to do with civic life or academic progress.  In our lecture halls, therefore, the socio-physical world and the spiritual world are completely separate, removed from one another.

 For both the aggressive atheist and the typical disinterested uni student, someone who wants to entrust themselves completely to Jesus seems strange.  Maybe too strange – crazy, even.  Academically, faith is often seen as weakness, a shortcoming, something that gets in the way of knowledge, that holds humanity back from reaching our true potential.  How then can someone belong to Jesus and at the same time swim in these cultural waters?  It’s easy for a believing student to feel like a fish out of water, to feel truly far from home.

But this experience isn’t at all unique to the modern university

From the very beginning of Christianity, believers have been considered “outsiders” by their society – from the very beginning it was clear to the world that there was something different about these “Christians”, that their allegiance wasn’t the same as those around them, the majority of their society.  For this reason in the early years, the church suffered greatly at the hands of those around them.  The problem was so serious, that the apostle Peter wrote a letter to the first generation of believers – calling them “sojourners and exiles” on this earth – encouraging them to not give up, but to endure, to keep going, even to rejoice in the midst of their sufferings, because of the great blessing that they had received from God.  This letter will be our launching point for the long-awaited FESTA GBU!

What does it mean, though, to be a sojourner and an exile?

What does that imply for today, to be far from home?  This will be the main theme for this year.  We’ll have two very special guests joining us: Stefano Mariotti, the pastor of the Chiesa la Piazza in Budrio (BO), who will share with us some reflections from 1 Peter on this theme.  We will also have with us Lindsay Brown, former General Secretary of IFES, the global movement that includes the GBU.  Linsdau will be sharing some of the lessons he has learnt from his over 40 years of experience in student ministry.

 But wait, there’s more!  The FESTA GBU also represents the primary moment of the year when students from all of Italy can gather together IN PERSON for 4 days of workshops, prayer and praise to the Lord, music, sport and plenty of time face to face – what a joy that we’ve been missing for nearly 3 years!  It’ll be unforgettable, and absolutely unmissable.  

Be there!

Simon Cowell
(Staff GBU Bari)

Tempo di lettura: 3 minuti

I have been involved with GBU for 15 years now. Throughout  these years our mission has not changed, but the world around us has. For us to share the Gospel effectively, it is always helpful to understand these changes. 

Today the Italian university is changing,  not as an organism in itself, but separate from the context in which it grows and develops. It is changing in relation to what is happening in our country, or, even moreso, in relation to the winds of change blowing through Europe.

About three years ago I was invited to take part in a major event that was to be held in Poland in 2020. It was a continent-wide conference that would bring together about 1,000 evangelical leaders from across Europe. The Lausanne Movement, promoter and organizer of this event, has now existed for nearly 50 years to further the advancement of the Church’s mission in the world.

But 2020, the year of cancelled events, forced the organisers to postpone the event to 2021. In fact, perhaps a bit naively , they hoped that we would soon be able to return to holding major events in attendance (easy to say in hindsight!), a luxury that the coronavirus, to date, is not yet allowing us. Lausanne Europe 20/21, then, turned into a major online event (another one!) that took place in November between the 17th and 20th and brought together online more than a thousand leaders from across our continent to reflect, pray, learn and plan for the advancement of Christ’s mission in Europe and to the ends of the earth.

After the Cape Town Global Congress in 2010 and the Young Leaders Gathering in Jakarta in 2016 (both sponsored by the Lausanne Movement), I also had the privilege of attending this event, and doing so in person. How so? How can one take part in person in an online event? Well, the answer lies in the fact that I was asked by the organizers to be one of the hosts of the different sessions, and this required gathering in person with a small group to attend the event in the city of and from which the event would be streamed in Southampton, UK.

There were many inputs, as can be expected from an event of this magnitude. For instance, there were a number of different speakers on “stage” who brought to our attention to which major challenges and opportunities are facing the European Church right now and which ones we may face in the coming decades. Here I would like to highlight three challenges that I found particularly relevant to us as we carry out our Christian ministry among university students:

Europe is becoming increasingly international and the church must respond to this trend

Our cities are changing their look, many people from all over the world are coming to Europe in search of work and a decent future. As society changes, so does the university and it follows that our GBU groups are also becoming more international. Our group here in Siena (to give one example) is made up of about 60% foreign students. This brings with it new challenges, such as having to deal with different cultures and ways of doing things and holding meetings in English, etc. It is not always easy to do all of this, but it is one of the challenges we face in the new Europe. Let’s try to do our best!

Making room for the next generation of leaders

Luke Greenwood, one of the many speakers, challenged us to consider and make room for the next generation. This has always been a strong point of student work, which sees its groups led by very young people who are new to the concept of leadership. GBU Italy follows its student coordinators, invests in them, gives them confidence, trains them and encourages them to carry out their role. What a privilege to be able to work alongside very young people and see them take their first steps in Christian ministry and leadership!

Giving voice to people whose voices have long been suppressed

One morning we were encouraged (and admonished) to listen to those whose voices have been suppressed by European Christians. Among these is the voice of women who for too long have been overpowered by that of men. GBU Italy is attentive to giving space to women, involving them at the forefront of ministry among students on a par with male students (at the moment, more than half of the student coordinators in Italy are women!). How wonderful to see female students flourish and grow as they put to use the gifts God has given them in service to the gospel!

May God bless Europe, the European Church, and the evangelistic ministry among college students in an ever-changing Europe.

Giovanni Donato (GBU staff worker in Siena)

Tempo di lettura: 2 minuti

Soon you will be reading the latest news from GBU students all over Italy. You will probably find reasons for praise that you have already read in other newsletters, prayer requests that you have prayed for in the past for a group, news of events from an enthusiastic group that, however, are not exactly new to you. In fact, they are often activities that have already been done in other cities, by other groups. Activities and prayer requests that you yourself have prayed, if you are a former GBU member, or that you know about because in the very last newsletter you read, another GBU group had done or asked for something similar in some other city. 

But why, then, would you read this newsletter? What’s new about it?

If you’re in a hurry, don’t read it. You might not find anything new. But if you devote a few minutes of concentration to reading, if you pay attention, you may be able to catch the spirit in which the students wrote those few lines. You will be able to find expressions such as “supercharged”, “finally”, “restarted” that powerfully express all the joy that  the students have  now they are getting back to meeting in person , relating  with other students, organising creative events, Bible studies and prayer meetings. In short, to Share Jesus from student to student, as they have always done, even during the pandemic, but with a new enthusiasm.

And that enthusiasm will sweep you away!

Then you’ll understand that the GBU still has that ever-new enthusiasm  typical of the young, new generation of believers, which is renewed from year to year, particularly in this post-covid restart year (we hope!).  You’ll realize we’re on track, we’re charged up, and you will feel involved, eager to do something: to pray. The Holy Spirit will guide you, speak to you, and with your prayer and support you can continue (or begin) to be a part of this mission, the mission of GBU, to make the Lord Jesus known in universities.

Domenico Campo (GBU Staff worker in Sicily)

Tempo di lettura: 3 minuti

According to an old theory, already implicit in Heiddeger’s writings on technology and popularized by a well-known article by historian Lynn White Jr., the Judeo-Christian tradition is the cause of the environmental crisis we are experiencing. If animism and paganism promoted a form of respect for the environment based on the belief that behind the natural elements there were spiritual beings, their defeat would have caused the desacralization of those elements and their transformation into resources to be exploited by man, prince of creation and its ruler. Without the need to historically analyze the validity of this theory, we can recognize how a superficial reading of the Bible may have led some Christians to take an inconsiderate attitude towards the environment.

On the other hand, careful reflection on what the Bible says about our relationship with nature represents the most solid foundation for a commitment to the protection and safeguarding of creation.

It is true that man is created in the image of God and his relationship with Him places him on a different plane from the rest of creation since the beginning of the biblical narrative, yet it is precisely the beginning of Genesis that suggests to us that man has always had a role of responsibility towards the environment:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden, to work it and take care of it.”

(Gen. 2:15).

In confirmation of this high value that natural elements have in the Christian worldview, we can recall that all of creation has been subjected to the effects of sin and is awaiting the return of Christ (Rom. 8:19-23), for “all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). Modern environmental concerns should not be foreign to any Christian who takes the truths just mentioned seriously, but there is more: without God, humanity risks losing any valid motivation to protect the environment that does not lead to anti-humanism.

Without God, it seems difficult, if not impossible, to find the balance between anthropocentrism, which has given support to the senseless exploitation of natural resources useful for economic development, and anti-humanism, which, by denying man the right to consider himself more important than other forms of life, turns him into the problem to be contained or eliminated. Neither atheistic materialism nor modern pantheism can provide a solution to this dilemma. Both fail to provide any basis for ethics, or end up equating human life to that of other animals, if not plants (or viruses!).

  • Why should I care about the survival of someone other than myself?
  • Why would it be wrong to eliminate even a small minority of human beings, if it would bring undoubted well-being to all other life forms on the planet?
  • Why would it be right to eliminate a life form like Coronavirus?

Questions for which the answer seems obvious and intuitive suddenly become difficult, if one excludes God from the picture.

The Bible does not resolve questions of environmental ethics with a form of anthropocentrism limited by God’s law, but instead by placing Christ Jesus at the center of all things.

The purpose of creation is to glorify Christ, and God’s plan culminates not in the salvation of man but in the unity of all things under one head, Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:9-10).

Christianity proposes a theocentric humanism that assigns a special role to man and a great value to his life, which, however, is not the ultimate end of things. Human beings are called to contribute to the realization of God’s plan, and they are called to do so also by taking care of the environment.

Francesco Schiano
(GBU staff worker in Naples)

Tempo di lettura: 2 minuti

The days spent at Formazione GBU were special.

They were rich and blessed because every activity that we experienced was useful (to me). One fundamental part of the training was learning from the interactions and confrontations between the students or between staff members and students; how important it is to know the thoughts of others and to learn from one another!

Formazione was not only theoretical, but also practical! Each student leader had the opportunity to lead a brief Bible study using the inductive method as well as receiving “input” that will be useful for evangelism at our universities.

Also valuable were the moments dedicated to international prayer for various brothers and sisters from different universities around the world; the seminars in which we focused on reflecting on certain ideologies that are taking root within the universities and what the Bible says about them; what methods can be used to to share your own testimony or what one should be aware of when one wants to start reading the Bible with a friend.

All of this was set against the backdrop of Formazione’s theme – The Time is Near.

These words are found within the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, a book that, amongst many other things, refers to love: the love of God that shines through the seven letters sent to the seven churches of Asia Minor, which are also valid for us today.

As student leader of GBU Salerno, a newborn reality, I return home satisfied and enriched.
Thanks to this experience in the grace of the Lord I was able to receive encouragement, as a university student, looking at the work of God within other GBU groups.

During the last few days I have been able to think about some points concerning my personal life that, in other circumstances, I would perhaps never have reflected on.

Guys, God speaks to our hearts and knows very well what our needs, difficulties and uncertainties are. We must never stop having faith in Him because at the right time He answers, at the right time He shows Himself.

I encourage the person reading this article to strive in their GBU, where we share Jesus from student to student. Our efforts in His name are never in vain!

Finally, a special thank you goes out to all the GBU Staff workers who work daily to advance the Kingdom of God within the universities; your presence, your encouragement and your dedication is something I will always carry in my heart!

May God bless us.

To Him alone be the glory!


Giuseppe Ambrosio
(coordinator of GBU Salerno)