Some thoughts on the CO expansion and how this CCP is taking shape...
Andrew Knight, a CO director, recently posted a Desiring God article on the topic of missions. I encourage everyone to read it. Here is an excerpt:
“I remember the time I first heard about the world’s greatest missionary (Jesus) — how he left his home, his family, and everything familiar to minister among the most unreached peoples. He immersed himself in his new culture and contextualized the gospel in every way, becoming all things to all people…” (www.desiringgod.org/articles/four-reasons-why-we-leave)
Andrew and Sara Knight arrived in Sheffield in July, 2015 to minister in a secularized and post-Christian Europe. Andrew now leads some of our CCP ministry trainings at a local Acts 29 church called The Crowded House. Our team has been learning how he and the rest of the Sheffield team can transition to a new culture and effectively minister in a different part of the world. The Knights, Devanes and Dischers are reminding our team that ministry contextualization is best lived out by being connected with the local Crowded House church. We are reminded that being church-based is a CO distinctive: “Campus Outreach believes in a relationship with the church. Unlike most campus ministries, CO is not a para-church organization. Though they are not connected to one particular denomination, each regional ministry is under the leadership of a regional church body.”
CO staff, like Andrew, have collaborated with Crowded House pastors and elders over the years. The fruit of fostered partnership has been the launch of multiple CCP teams and a CO Sheffield team. Campus Outreach in England is still Campus Outreach. However, I have learned words like “campus” and “outreach” are not as relevant and used in Sheffield as they are in the Twin Cities. Therefore, in order to adapt to the present university context and reside under the local church authority, this CO team is known as "The Crowded House Student Workers." Andrew put it simply, “This is how we now identify ourselves.”
Steve Discher noted, “The Crowded House student team in Sheffield seeks to minister to university students in the area. The Student Workers want to bless the city and universities in Sheffield by building relationships with students, encouraging students, and sharing a Christian perspective on life. We want to be connected and work with others in the city to help students in their time in University and the transition after graduation.” I agree. As Christians, we are united in our commitment to Christ. Yet, our individual roles and how we follow him can look very different because of our unique cultural circumstances.
Aaron Wang is excited to partake in a lot of the life-on-life activities Student Workers do all year. “I am really encouraged by the Student Workers’ passion for reaching lost Sheffield citizens and I think that directly flows into our CCP team. Andrew really has a heart for the nations. The Devanes and Dischers also bring a lot of experience which translates into a prepared Cross Cultural Project.”
I like how the Student Workers are so integrated into the Crowded House community and mission. I think adopting the church’s values provides a crucial source of accountability, leadership and resources to better build Christian laborers at The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.
Andrew later concluded, “We hope to be able to connect local university students with our student workers and the Crowded House. Our Student Workers want to be strategic in being a safe church home for families and students. We are a seeking, welcoming, and discipling home.” Our team is excited to participate in this mission and we look forward to learning more ways that we can contextualize our methods while holding fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.