July 2012 - Vol. 61
When I first moved to London in September 2011 to study theology at Heythrop College at the University of London, I began to search for Christian Union, a popular university Christian student group. Unable to find a Christian Union group at my college, it was purely by chance that I stumbled upon Koinonia, an ecumenical Christian community outreach to university students in London. I decided to settle for this ecumenical group. What I found, thankfully, was so much more than I was expecting.
Koinonia was providing Christian fellowship for students unlike anything Iíve seen before. It felt more like a family. Looking back more than half way through my first year, itís weird to actually acknowledge how much impact Koinonia has had on my student life. What was originally just a once-a-week commitment to meet with Koinonia to try and keep my mom happy that I had found a Christian student group turned into something I look forward to.
It has been great to have met other students, gappers, and leaders through Koinonia, and it has provided a place where I can freely worship and pray. The charismatic set up is not something that is unusual to me at all, but doing it ecumenically is, and I think that these are key things why koinonia works so well for me. Despite our denominational differences, our own situations and diverse nationalities, weíre each bound together in one God. Itís that, and going to the pub after the prayer sessions, which won me over.
I have benefited so much from being part of Koinonia. Iíve met some of the best people I know in London and I have gained a network of support as well. God has placed this community and what it stands for on my heart. More than anything Iím excited for whatís to come for Koinonia in the upcoming academic year and for my part in it.
One of my favourite lines in the Scripture, recorded in Chapter 6 of Johnís Gospel, comes from Philip, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. When thousands of people had gathered in a remote place in Galilee to see Jesus, Jesus turned to Philip and asked him where they could buy bread to feed this multitude of people who had come to hear him speak.
Without a momentís hesitation Philip, rather than answer Jesusí question, instead announced that ďtwo hundred denarii (around 8 months wages) would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little. How did Philip reach his calculation so quickly? It strikes me that Philip had already been wondering where the people would get food from, and perhaps he had already done calculations in his head about how much it would cost and where they would get money from and whether the apostles could afford to pay. His conclusion was that it was impossible. So when Jesus asks him this question Philip shoots out a pre-formulated conclusion.
Of course, we see as the story goes on that what Philip has not calculated on is the power of the Almighty God. And I think the main reason that Philip makes me smile is that I see something of myself in him.
I love new ideas and plans and strategies and projections and big, audacious goals. But it can be easy to lose yourself in them. Like Philip I need to be brought back to the power of the Almighty God. The last six months of life in Koinonia have been full of ideas and strategies and goals, but theyíve also been full of surprises and laughter at what we see God doing and full of joy at seeing the life he brings into our midst.
God turned the tables on our plans for Koinonia this year. We were thinking buckets and God was thinking rivers. We were thinking the rain was coming and God was raising the water table.
I get a bit more perspective now on university outreach work as my work and life have taken on more of a British Isles focus with connection and involvement with university groups in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin. Itís clear to me that we in Koinonia experience a real showering of Godís favor and faithfulness as we see the life he brings into our midst among students in Central London. This little group of students, staff and volunteers are building Christian community, sharing the gospel and impacting people from all around the world.
Despite my best projections and calculations I donít think I could have foreseen some of the things that God has done. We are highly blessed to see students coming to faith for the first time, and students who are making missionary commitments in Koinonia. Thank the Lord, weíre not dependant on my calculations.
See next > Surprised by Zeal, by PM Graham, Kairos Mission Leader
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