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Tour aims to help students make their way in life - and back into church

Two major ministries are teaming up for a series of events to help students find their way after graduation – and churches to reverse the trend of missing twentysomethings ...

The Evangelical Alliance and student ministry UCCF are teaming up for a series of events to help students find their way after graduation – and churches to reverse the trend of missing twentysomethings ...

Stepping out from the euphoria of university campus life after graduation into the harsh world of work can be disorienting to some students, who suddenly face the realities of debt, unemployment and the job application treadmill.

In an effort to help them bridge the gap and find a meaningful niche in life, former students who went through and overcame the same challenges are returning to the campus of Warwick University to share their experience and lend a helping hand.

Leading the line-up is former chemistry student Dr Krish Kandiah (above), a published author and national director of a campaign on fostering and adoption, now working for the Evangelical Alliance.

“My call is for students to not just focus on maximising their earning potential but also to focus on how their life can make a difference to the nation and to the poor,” said Krish.

Also in the line-up are Hester Meacock, a 26-year-old primary school teacher who is hugely passionate about helping those in their 20s, Jenny Shortman who graduated with a Masters degree in social work and has had to deal with gossip and endless talk in the workplace about sex and relationships, James Lee who has great experience in the positives and negatives of gap years and Jon Bevan who brings an entrepreneurial flair to the discussion and talks about the realities behind the glitter and glamour of being your own boss.

Pod Bhogal (right), head of communications of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) said the One Life event at Warwick University is the first of five pilots to help Christian and non-Christian students to be better prepared for life after university.

“Time and again, we have seen that students who are actively involved in their local Christian Union are almost always involved with a local church and are, therefore, more likely to make a smoother transition from university life to the world of work.

"Their faith is less likely to unravel when they enter the world of work because of how they were encouraged to get involved in a local church whilst at the Christian Union,” said Pod.

“Churches are increasingly investing in nurturing children and teenagers but when they reach their 20s and 30s – periods characterised by upheaval and huge life changes and big decisions – we certainly have a challenge to meet,” said Phil Green of the Evangelical Alliance, “we are addressing that through many routes including a recently launched social networking programme named threads which has attracted tens of thousands of young adults.”

Threads was a response to research which showed that the Church is haemorrhaging people in their 20s and 20s. In 1988 member churches of the Evangelical Alliance reported that people aged 18 to 34 made up 25 per cent of their congregation, but that fell to a three per cent 10 years later.

Statistician Peter Brierley, who conducted the research, said that thanks to an investment in youth ministry churches are holding onto teenagers longer, but sadly they are losing young people as they approach their 20s and 30s and this is one of the most pressing concerns for the church at the moment.
One Life Midlands TOUR DATES

Warwick University - Wednesday 13 November
Birmingham University - Thursday 14 November
Leicester University - 26 November
Keele University- 27 November
Nottingham University - 22 November

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