I became a Christian at 19, having dropped out of metric to ‘experience life’ for a few years after the death of my brother tore a hole in my family and humanistic worldview. After I realised that Christ was the true way that I could know the powerful God who loved me and gave himself for me, I decided I needed to train my brain to serve him better in evangelism and general life. I also thought university would be an exciting place to share Christ. As I was keen to join in anything Christian, I went along to the Australian Fellowship of Christians (AFES) group on Hobart Campus, called Fellowship of Christian Students at the time. I went to the lunchtime meetings, bible study groups, Mid Year Conference (MYC) and in later years the committee which included training meetings and sessions at Sam Green’s house. It was a deeply important for me. Philosophy and English tutorials were places to discuss and explore deeper things with people and every week through church, Sam’s preaching and other things I was involved in, I felt more and equipped to share my faith, both in my essays, contact with people at Uni and with my non-Christian family. I think Sam was the first preacher to help me truly understand idolatry and other ‘old testament sins’ as contemporary issues and to think critically and theologically about what my lecturers were teaching me.
MYC was a highlight of my year, a chance to take in a large amount of scriptural knowledge through seminar groups, sort through that information through the talks and reflection groups and through discussion while walking along the beach or running early in the morning towards Ulverstone. National Training Event (NTE) gave me a good grounding in preparing and writing talks and bible studies from the old and new testaments,and systematic overviews of topics. It was also exciting to meet Christian students from around Australia.
In my final year at University, my husband, Luke Isham and I were ‘courting’ as we enjoyed Graeme Goldsworthy’s Biblical Theology sermons at MYC. Now, years later, Luke works with Mikey Lynch at University Fellowship of Christians and again I get to see the important foundations AFES lays in the lives of Christians at university.
Now as mum of two little ones, supporting Luke in his full-time work and working part-time for Prison Fellowship Australia, I don’t have that precious time to spend those wonderful hours in the scriptures daily. However, I continue to give thanks to God for the foundation I received in scripture, in discerning false teaching, in understanding difficult doctrine and theology, and the intentional living - of ‘taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ’ and ‘making the most of every opportunity’ in prayer, worship and sharing the good news about Jesus – with my children, in my work and in my relationships with my (still) non-Christian family. If you have seen the University Fellowship of Christians signs and wondered what they are about, or if you went once and felt a little overwhelmed, take the long view. The word of God is worth more than gold and God’s work in sanctifying you is so much more joyful and easy in fellowship with other Christians who take holiness seriously. Why not visit a Lunchtime meeting or Fellowship group during the week, or check out a Citywide at the Grand Chancellor? Come to MYC for a really transformative time to know God’s word and other Christians. A moment of awkwardness could reap a lifetime of benefit to you as you grow in your faith, to others as your unique gifts bless them and to the wider world as you become equipped to share God’s word confidently at work, at home and who knows where else?