Try church – an invitation to a generation of students
09 DEC 2020
To invite students to Try Church is to offer an invitation to 2.3 million young people currently studying at university in the UK.
And, thanks to a grant of £82,755 from Allchurches Trust, the Try Church programme will be able to transform its outreach and impact in the next few years, moving it from projects focused solely on Freshers’ Weeks, Christmas and Easter to an all-year round programme. Try Church’s message is that it is a lifestyle and a posture to be adopted, and much more than just one-off events.
Data indicates that less than 1% of all students connect with a church during their time at university, and many of the Fusion Team are called into this area of church mission because they are not satisfied that so few of the student generation are invited to try church as they start their adult lives at university.
Mark Huskisson, Head of Operations at Fusion, said: “For the church as a whole, this is a strategic opportunity to directly affect a whole generation by speaking directly to the single most easily identifiable mission field available to the church.
“So many stories of my peers’ stories begin with, “I grew up in a Christian household and then went to Uni and then… well… you know how that goes.” And how do we meet those hundreds of thousands of students who have yet to even step inside a church in their lives?
“It can feel like a huge task and completely overwhelming, but with prayer, boldness, hard work and supported by funding from Allchurches Trust, we are championing, training and supporting local churches to get out on campus and to get students to invite their friends to Try Church.
“And students of this generation are responding openly and positively to an invitation to give church a go. Many have testified to the fact that they’ve thought about it quite a lot, but nobody had ever asked.”
In 2019, Fusion supported 153 churches gather in unity (cross-denominational/ecumenical) at Freshers' Fairs to invite students to Try Church across 41 university locations. They had 798 non-Christians agree to try Church and 275 sign-ups to the new Student LinkUp app, which connects students with local/partner churches.
Even in COVID lockdown, where many Freshers’ Fairs were cancelled or moved online, Fusion has been out on six campuses with churches, inviting all students to try church at university. And now Fusion is gearing up to enlarge the Try Church programme through churches in university locations.
Mark added: “We know that it’s going to take more than a Freshers Fair or a carefully curated social media campaign to see a generation of students find hope in Jesus and a home in their local church.
“The student population has never needed the church more than it does at this time of lockdown and restricted movement. So we’re committed to wherever universities are open and where students are attending their courses, Fusion will not be absent in fulfilling its mission in supporting the local church to journey with their students in finding hope, home and the richness of a life lived with purpose and meaning.”