Today I start my new job as UCCF's South West Team Leader. Basically, that means overseeing the regional Staff team and seeking to effectively advance the gospel among students in Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Falmouth by serving the mission teams (Christian Unions) in each location.
In this I have the extreme priviledge of supervising the South West staff - Kenny, Claudia, Jim and Su Ann who have been wonderful colleagues and partners in the gospel who have taught me many things. They're joined by new staff member Alex and also Andy who starts our Relay programme next week. Eight other Relays are on our team. Together we stand with our local mission teams, serving them as they live and speak for Jesus, serving the church.
My desire and prayer is to see a generation of students equipped and empowered. A generation who are passionate about enjoying God's grace, revelling in the cross, tasting the sweetness of His word and the power of the Spirit and so wholeheartedly making Jesus famous as they live in the student world and who'll go on doing so for the rest of their lives.
The LORD's comission to Jeremiah has rung in my heart this summer - "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." This is the power of God's word - how great should be my expectation of what he will do as students preach Christ? Jesus will build his church!
UCCF's vision is in my blood really. I became a Christian 10 years ago just before I began studying at Bath Uni. In the time that has followed I've been a UCCF student, Relay, supporter, CU staff worker and now a Team Leader. We're a fellowship of Students, Staff and Supporters - it appears that I'm sucked in for life!
As I start I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Emma Brewster. Emma was a CU staffworker when I was a CU leader, interviewed me for Relay and has been Team Leader for the past seven years. I'm thankful for her example of passionate, energetic service focussed on equipping students for mission.
This evening I go to Orientation in Northampton, some six miles from where I grew up, to feast on God's word, to think hard about the vision for the years ahead, to pray, to meet with other new staff and hopefully learn a little more about the detail of doing my new job. By the time the conference is over Em will have moved us into our new home in Exeter and I hope to join her there on Friday evening. Initially I expect to be offline whilst we get things sorted so this could the last post for a little while.
I ♥ UCCF. It's true. But not for it's own sake, but because it is a missionary fellowship where the glorious gospel is guarded and treasured and enjoyed and made famous.