August/ September 2018 - Vol. 99

An Update on Koinonia Outreach to University Students in London, UK

Koinonia London UK

Understanding Our Mission in Student Evangelism
by Rita El Hachem

Last March, Koinonia in London, UK participated in a Kairos Student Worker Outreach Training (SWOT) weekend on the topic of strategy in our mission work. It was a great opportunity for us as a university outreach to reflect on signs of hope that keep us going in our mission, but also time to set goals, make our goals as specific as possible, and find practical ways to get to it. It was a reminder that Koinonia's needs are not always the same as those of other University Christian Outreaches and that God wants us to tackle those particular needs. We discussed two specific character traits essential for mission and crucial to implement strategy: diligence and discipline. Planning takes time and always starts with our own repentance, confession of sin, and baptism in the Holy Spirit which will lead us to obedience and to a better knowledge of Christ.

Rita
                                  from KoinoniaiWe were asked to think of some biblical figures, and try to see where they needed to show discipline. I particularly remembered Joseph's story in the Bible - a young man sold into slavery, to become later on, a high-ranked official in Egypt. Not only did he have a close relationship with God, but he dealt decisively with temptation and sin, constantly growing in discipline. He thought wisely, acted prudently, and most importantly, he lived morally a good life that is conformed to Godís will. Josephís story is a great example for us not to fall in the trap of boasting in ourselves by thinking we are self-disciplined. This virtue of discipline is truly a gift of the Holy Spirit, that would make us more humble. Once we give God more room to work in various areas of our lives, we realise it is Him who makes us grow in discipline. Taking this step is not always easy, it comes with its own challenges, but ďGod disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.Ē Hebrews 12:10

During the weekend, I learned to seek after the Lord, not only for myself, but for those around me. Those two days helped me better understand our call and our mission as an outreach. We build community by bringing people to God and offering them  a taste of the joy it is to know the Lord. When we approach them with a spirit of fellowship and service, we can invite them into life in the Holy Spirit; receiving baptism in the spirit and developing a relationship with God that will give new meaning to their lives. To a many of the people around us, we might be the only witnesses of Godís love in their lives. Letís not miss a chance to bring them closer to Him!


No Easy Answers
by Meggie Gretzinger

Meggy
                                    from KoinoniaI hate it when you ask someone a question and they give you an easy answer. The kind thatís only half-true, thatís only black and white.

I remember being fed up with those as a teenager. I'd been brought up as a Christian, but I was starting to ask a lot more questions. I was involved in a Catholic charismatic youth group, and one thing I learned there was that I could ask God those questions myself, and expect an answer.

A few years later some family members became seriously ill, and I decided to postpone going to university to have more time with them. I love my family but it was all a bit exhausting, and I found myself asking God: what are you doing here? Why is this happening?

I'd missed application deadlines at this point, but when spring approached I felt that God was telling me that it was time to move on, and that I should apply to unis in London. When I was there, I met Koinonia. Having a place to worship God alongside brothers and sisters was so helpful for me, and the Lord used Koinonia to bring some healing from the past year. But I still wondered why it all happened the way it did, and when God would bring some good out of the situation.

I remember reading John's gospel about that time and being struck by Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene. Jesus sees her standing there, weeping by his tomb. But he doesn't come in and start explaining everything, he asks her why she's crying, and he listens to her. That struck me, especially as she's my namesake, and I felt the Lord saying to me that he was listening to me and my questions and that he was with me.

And then I noticed what he does next - he sends her on mission.

As I was having this experience, Amy, a Koinonia staffer, came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be part of a team of students who were going to meet and encourage each other in evangelism. We do a Bible study looking at how Jesus talked to people, we pray for each other and share about how itís been going, and we fast for it once a week. I think prayer and mission really need each other, and having other people pray for the ones youíre reaching out to, and vice versa, is brilliant. And the fasting Ė thatís practical, isnít it? Youíre saying to God ĎIím really serious about this. Please use me here.í

At the same time, Mica, my Koinonia small group leader, asked us if we wanted to read a book called 'Questioning Evangelism'. She said it was about using questions to start evangelistic conversations. I said 'Yep, sounds perfect for me.' People love being asked questions! I was very curious about my Muslim friend's faith, so I asked her about it. And then, of course, she asked me about mine. We had a good chat, and that seemed to be all for the present. But recently, when her uncle was stabbed, she asked me to pray for her.

It can be scary to ask our friends Ďbig questionsí, but Iíve been amazed at how effective itís been at building friendships. And itís the same with us and God Ė weíve got to ask him about our lives. He's God, after all; he's not going to change. Heís with us as we wait for him in the here and now, and one day we will be with him forever and our waiting will finish. Ask him the big questions. Who knows what will happen?



Meggie Gretzinger is a third year Children's Nursing student at the University of Greenwich, and Rita el-Hachem is finishing a master's in Health Psychology at UCL. In the past year, both were very involved in Koinonia, the student outreach of the Antioch community in London.

For more information about Koinonia in London, UK, visit their website and facebook page.

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