Why I’m walking (or being chased by a dog whilst wearing a Chicken suit)

Walking in the Peaks

On June 16th I will be joining the Fusion team for their Student-link-up Challenge.

 

I’ll be stretching myself to the limit with the gut-busting, fear-crushing endurance feat of walking 10 miles in the Peak District late into the night.  Ok, its an evening stroll in a stunning location in mid June with an inspiring and joyful bunch of people and I’ll take Biscuit (our golden retriever) along for company too.  The endurance element will be for those who are doing the full 50 miles over the two days afterwards.

 

I’m not doing this to impress anyone and I’m not asking for sponsorship based on my efforts.  i’m doing this because I want to support Fusion and to raise the profile of the simple strategic work they do.

however I’ve now had an offer of a generous sponsorship donation if I wear a Chicken Costume for the walk. (& then take a video of me being chased by Biscuit in my chicken costume) – Would you be happy to contribute a bit to see that happen?

 

I’ve been a fan of Fusion since they launched in 1997.  It is a small charity with a national focus.  Their core vision is to enable young people heading off to University to link up with churches, to resource and empower church based student mission and to enable graduates to integrate into churches once uni is over and done with.  What impresses me is that its a simple, crucial vision and they do it really well, with passion, joy and creativity.  So why does this rate so highly on my list of things that matter?

 

  1. Every year 500,000 young people go to Uni in the UK.

A rough estimate is 20,000 of them come from home churches where their relationship with God has started and their faith nurtured through family and youth groups.  Tragically many of these young people in a swirling changing world of university haven’t found roots in a local church and miss out on the essential flourishing which is available through being connected with God’s family.  Those who do find churches, find encouragement, discipleship, wider friendships outside the student bubble and support and wisdom to help them in mission to their student mates.  Fusion through Studentlinkup (www.studentlinkup.org) helps students find churches and helps churches look out for and welcome new students.  Their new app is genius and the whole process is so essential & strategic for the kingdom in the UK.

Here are the stats;

500,000 freshers in the autumn.
49% of a generation go to Uni (of any year group)
2,700 linkups with fusion last year
3,000 target for this year
27% Christians find a church if left to their own devices.
92% Christians find a church if they do student linkup
2. I really believe in Church-Based student mission.  The university landscape and student experience have changed dramatically over the past 2 decades since I went to Uni.  Now there isn’t student culture, there are a myriad of student subcultures and the best people to bring Jesus to any of these are students themselves, but I believe they need to be rooted in local churches to stay sane and fruitful in that.  I wasted 3 years of my time at uni on student Christian politics and attempting to build church without the maturity or training I needed.  I burned out, got jaded, religious, argumentative and proud through the experience, when I look back now I’m gutted that I wasted so much effort.  Without the wise support of a mentor and a Christian network outside of Uni, I might have walked away from church bitter and cynical like so many others have.  Healthy churches, with mature student workers, biblical teaching, wise counsel and normal-life support can keep Christian students alive, they can also prepare young adults to be part of church after graduation.

 

So I’m going for a nice evening stroll in June with a Chicken suit, an excited puppy and a purpose. I want to shout from the hilltops of the valuable work Fusion are doing and ask you to join me in supporting it.  Please pray (not that I can walk 10miles on a summer’s evening!) but that thousands of young people will link in with student linkup and if you can give a little (or a lot) to sponsor the pilgrimage that will resource Fusion to keep on their simple but strategic work, which is built on fantastic core values.

You can sponsor me here.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=RichardPennystan