September 2011 - Vol. 52

Mark Jordan and son John (upper right)  are joined with staff and members of Koinonia at Prep 10 Conference

 Building Christian community 
among university students in London
By Mark Jordan

Some years ago I built a wall. It was a simple wall between the driveway and the path from the house to the shed. I think every man, at least once in his life, should build a wall. It was made from pieces of wood that were six inches square and 12 feet long. I had to dig a trench, treat the wood, and cement in posts for it. It was two exhausting days' work. But once it was finished it was highly satisfying. The wall was to have two main impacts: the first was on the path behind the wall. Previously when it rained, this path would be flooded, but after the wall was completed the path no longer flooded. The second impact was on the driveway. Every time it rained, part of the driveway would subside slightly. Our theory in building the wall was that it would stop the subsidence and hold the driveway in place. I saw with my own eyes that the path behind the wall no longer flooded. Whether we were successful in preventing the subsidence only the years will tell.

Support structures for young people are greatly eroded today, especially when young people leave home. Around 70% of Christian teenagers in the UK will not find spiritual support while at university, and many will be swept away by the flood of secularism and other anti-Christian influences. Koinonia, the Christian community that we’re building amongst university students in London, is striving to keep the ”rain off the path.” We’ve seen a half-dozen students find new life in Christ this year, some for the first time, some coming back to him. We’ve seen a number of students who were already Christian find a home with us and flourish.  In helping them find a spiritual home we aim to help them stay in touch with their Creator in a secular university environment that often opposes any belief in God.

Laying a foundation allows us to build for the future and prevent “subsidence.” We’re working to play our part for the Gospel for the years to come. We’ve secured funding to keep our center in the student union open for the new academic year. We’ve established men’s and women’s households, and we’ve restructured our staffing for next year to help us be more effective in training people in Koinonia for active mission at university. Beginning this month (September) we launch our first mission school. This last one has got me particularly excited as it brings together a lot of what I’ve been moving forward these last years. We’ll also be appointing our first student program leader for the central University of London Student Union (ULU) area where most of our mission is based. This is an exciting time for us, and we work in the hope that God will be enabling us to build on solid ground for the years to come.

It’s clear to me that the Lord has been touching lives in our midst and drawing men and women to himself. It’s a tremendous privilege to witness that, and even participate in it. It’s also been great to see how he has brought ideas and initiatives to us that have helped us plan for the future. The future of this mission is in his hands and it brings me great joy to see him bring fruit from it. Fruit this year and fruit for the future.

[Mark Jordan is the director of the university Christian student outreach, Koinonia, and has been involved in student mission work for seven years. He also works for Kairos Europe where he runs the student worker outreach training program. He lives in London with his wife Rachel and son John.]

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