Last week I began a series of guest posts from people sharing their stories of being in university Christian Unions. You can read more about why HERE and Liz’s Story HERE. Today’s story comes from someone who has asked to be named as Spud.
My CU has given me many positives over the year; by helping with my self-confidence, giving me a wonderful group of friends and a place to study the bible. Mostly I’ve had a positive experience with my CU, with everyone being welcoming and cheerful to me over my first year at university. I’ve become part of a weekly group where we can discuss the Bible and pray.
However, I have witnessed my friend being made uncomfortable in Fresher’s week when telling a CU rep that she doesn’t believe in God, and I have been uncomfortable being told I should go into the streets and encourage strangers to become Christians. I’ve found it frustrating when my friends in CU don’t listen to me when I say that I don’t like loud and large churches and prefer a more traditional church.
People I come into contact with in my CU are encouraging and friendly, but there are some things I disagree with about my CU but do not feel able to discuss these.
One of the things I don’t feel able to discuss is different ways of doing evangelism, as it feels like everyone is so set in their ways – I was brought up to believe you evangelise through your actions and how you portray yourself to others, and then that will lead people to question why you act as you do and you can explain why with God and Christianity. Most people I’ve met in the CU evangelise through telling people they’re Christians and why other people should be too which I feel can intimidate and put people off Christianity and the CU.
Another topic is how you worship. They are used to loud worship, maybe Christian rock music or a loud preacher. As quite a self-conscious person, raising my hands in worship, praying out loud and responding aloud have always been things I avoid as I don’t like drawing attention to myself. My CU friends don’t seem to understand that I can worship in my church by listening to a sermon and singing hymns or music without raising my hands.
The CU has such a bad reputation at my uni that I feel embarrassed to say I go to it, even though I know everyone in the CU is such good people at heart, they just sometimes go about showing it in the wrong way. I try to explain to non-Christian’s that in my view the CU is sort of like a denomination of Christianity, and although they act like that, not all Christians do.