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It’s not what you do

Mark Ellis, 31/03/21

CUI Director, Mark Ellis, shares some insights in the importance of why we do mission.

It’s not what you do

It’s not difficult to get students to do mission, but why they do it matters more.

It’s not difficult to get any Christian to DO evangelism. You just need a few key ingredients. The best is guilt. Give me a sense that I ought to do this, ought to tell my friends about Jesus, and that I’ve failed so often I ought to try harder. Alongside guilt, a bit of hype and a strong motivational talk will help. Finally, organise some events. Then I’ve got something to bring people to rather than having to talk to them about Jesus myself.

It’s not difficult to get Christians to do mission. But why are we surprised when mission is miserable – not just for us, but especially for our friends who don’t yet know Jesus?

By contrast, the early church seemed to ripple out across the world in wave after wave, almost as an explosion of joy. They had seen and tasted that God is good, and that in Jesus he is good to them. Their hearts were captivated by who Jesus is and what he had done for them at the cross. Through his grace, they were united to him; enjoying walking with him now and safe forever. So nothing could stop them! They lived and spoke Jesus wherever they went and whatever they did. It was natural. They wanted everyone to know Jesus’ love is wide enough and grace is deep enough for anyone.

Two thousand years later, very little has changed. We too are sinners whose hearts have been won to Christ and set free. And the more we gaze at Jesus, the more we want to live and speak for him. The more students know him and enjoy him and all he has done for them, the more they can’t keep him private.

So, what is mission? And when does mission happen? At heart, mission is not an event, or a burden, or something for a few keen people. Mission is the most natural thing in the world. It’s just the visible fruit of hearts that overflow with Joy in Christ. It’s students on every campus who will live and speak for Jesus because they are thrilled by Jesus and can’t help telling everyone.

Why we do mission matters more than what we do. Because when your heart is captured by someone wonderful, you’ll find ways of telling people. Yes, we still organise Mission and Events Weeks. One of our core values is that we are, “Fuelled by the gospel of grace.” And the more CU students embody that, the more their every days will reflect a God of over–spilling grace. And the more they will be attractive, life–long witnesses of Christ wherever he sends and roots them in decades to come – in every corner of this island and around the world.