My Story #ReachingFriends
by Rebeca Sanchez-Clist
It all started 2 years ago. We had a few new international students in our life group, who were all committed christians spending a year at UEA.
We knew we wanted to reach our friends and that meant lots of socials, and hanging out together with the friends of our friends. That year we realized that we could easily get 20-30 people (christians and non-christians) together and at the end of a really good year, when most of our life group went back to their countries (to 4 different continents), we decided we wanted to keep the momentum and do more than socials (although they still play a big part!).
So in October 2016 we started Big Questions. The idea was to provide a safe environment where we could discuss the big topics in life: does God exist, has science disproved God, what is different about Christianity, what is the purpose of life etc.
A great opportunity
I guess that we felt it was a great opportunity to bring different world views into one room and discuss together what makes Jesus the best answer to life’s questions. The format is simple: a 20 minute talk followed by Q&A. It took a while for the Q&A to work, I think people need to feel it’s a safe place and they won’t be judged for what they believe. We explicitly welcome everyone and never push people to believe what we believe. After 6 sessions of Big Questions we wanted to open the Bible together. I think sometimes we feel like people are not interested in reading the Bible, but we have found the opposite, we have more students when we read the bible together! The format is still the same, we look at a theme using a bible passage, a 20 mins talk followed by Q&A. It’s amazing how people are willing to engage and think deeply about what the bible is saying. Last night Paul did a talk on “the 2 advocates: Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, it was an incredible opportunity and great to see people asking really deep questions like “how can we hear from the holy spirit?”
The fringe for us are our friends
People like some of us who have come to the UK and want to be part of it. We want to feel welcomed and understand British people and that means understanding Christianity. And as a life group where most of us are international or have lived abroad we understood those needs because we have been there and we wanted to be part of the solution. We love Jesus and we love the nations and we want the two of them to meet. For us as a life group sometimes that takes place in a house, in the park or in the pub with our international friends.