Building Bridges in Belfast

Growing Student Movements

Agapé UK's student movement is called Agapé Student Life. When they cast a vision about the beginning of Agapé Student Life at the Belfast university a year ago, a student there exclaimed, “That sounds like just what Queen’s University needs!” Twelve months later a team of seven Americans have landed in Belfast to launch a movement along with a Queen’s grad moving from serving with Agapé in Toulouse, France.

Belfast has had other Agapé ministries for a number of years, so as we thought about the next stop for the expansion of Student Life it seemed like the best fit. When Agapé staff from Florida expressed an interest in partnering with us, it seemed perfect. There is a lot of ministry activity amongst students in Northern Ireland however, although 60% of the campus is culturally Catholic, 95% of ministry activity is directed at the 40% who are Protestant.

With that in mind, the Agapé Student Life vision is to engage with everyone, across the divide, but to start out building a movement culturally relevant to the Catholic side. “It's sad that so many Irish Catholic students have so few opportunities to open up about their spiritual journeys and ask life's big questions” says team leader Travis Young, “Our hope is to start a movement of students seeking and discovering Jesus together."

Just like every Agapé Student Life team, in Belfast they are seeking to connect people to God, connect people to people and change the world by building a movement of students exploring questions about life, God and faith. A spiritual movement that changes the university and impacts the world, not just another Christian group.

Travis continues, “We’re living somewhere in the tension of hope and expectation. Our hope is that God will move powerfully at Queen’s and that we would see a movement that represents the whole campus. We hope many students, both Catholic and Protestant, will get to know the love, grace and friendship of Jesus. But, we expect this to take time. We want to move slowly, to be learners, and to be humble and patient for God to show us how to do this.”

As the team gets going please pray that they would have creative vision to engage Queen’s students with the gospel, for good follow up with people met during Freshers' Week, unity as a team and the ability to build good relationships with both Catholic and Protestant chaplains and churches. Thank you!

Article by Andy Dixon, who is part of the Agapé Student Life team and gives leadership to Student Life’s international mission focus together with his wife Lauren.

Article is adapted from the Agapé UK's website

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