Will 1800 students be trying “mango evangelism” this week?
While early December sees most people trying to squeeze work, Christmas shopping and end-of-year events into an over-tight schedule, for many Christian university students this time of year means just one thing: NTE
1800 students come together for a week of training
The National Training Event, run by the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students and held each year in Canberra, gathers between 1800 and 2000 students from across the country for a week of biblical training and encouragement in the faith. Many then spend the following week serving and stretching themselves in a parish elsewhere, and a number of churches across the Diocese are hosting teams this month.'
Who does the mission week benefit?
Laura Maddock, a senior staff worker with AFES at the University of Adelaide, will be leading a group of more than 15 students at St John’s, Maroubra and says, “It benefits our students enormously to see how a church in a different place operates.
“Walk-up evangelism at Maroubra Beach is also a really good experience and we’ve had a number of students who’ve tried that for the first time or done ‘mango mission’ [doorknocking with Christmas invites and a mango] and come back really excited about it. There’s been a huge benefit back on campus… and we’re aware that we want it to be beneficial for the church, too!”
"We want it to be beneficial for the Church too!"
An Adelaide NTE group has been coming to Maroubra since 2012, and rector the Rev Jim Crosweller says that “it’s a way any church anywhere can invest in the student Christian movement and that’s a great thing. I’ve watched numerous young folks from Adelaide grow year by year… and some become ministry apprentices as well, which is exciting to watch.
“Also, there’s no doubt personnel power dims at Christmas… if you want to do broad promotional evangelism at Christmas you can really use the troops!”
All hands on deck
Mission pastor at Fairfield with Bossley Park, Vincent Chan, agrees. His parish will welcome a group from the University of Sydney again this year, and in addition to providing the students with the “cultural immersion” experience of life and ministry in southwestern Sydney, the locals will be helped by having extra hands on deck.
“We’re running a few bigger events to build connections with our neighbours as we prepare for Mission 2020,” he says. “We have carols for Bossley Park on December 7, and we have a community barbecue over at Fairfield after the church service, and because [the two churches] are quite separate in terms of distance, there are two different communities that we’re seeking to invite.
“The mission team will help us have more resources to be able to do that… they become our arms and our legs so our people are freed up to chat with the locals we invite.”
The ultimate goal of an NTE team’s visit to any parish, Mr Crosweller says, “is to get a slightly underconfident university student next to a slightly underconfident church member, get them to do a slightly hard thing together and get them to walk away with more courage than they would have had apart. That’s brought me the most joy.
"Walk away with ore courage"
“It’s been great to see someone from Adelaide and our church go out a little fearful and come back excited and more confident in the Lord. What could be better?”