Forum 2016: Wrapping up an amazing week

Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”” – 1 Samuel 14:6

Long post alert! It’s been a long week and I’ve learned a lot, which I’ll try to sum up here. I’ll be leaving out a lot of detail, mostly on the grounds that it would take over a week to accurately describe 5 days…

Not having been to anything like this before, I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived in Shropshire on Monday. All I really knew was that there would be a lot of CU leaders there, and I’d be camping with the rest of my CU.

I’ll try to sum up my Forum experience quite briefly, although there are no promises.

1. Sleep, glorious sleep…

I’d forgotten just how uncomfortable sleeping on a roll mat is. Which combined with long days and late nights means I slept all of Saturday morning.

2. If you can’t sleep, look at the stars…

Living in cities and towns is great. But light pollution is a thing. Quinta, being mostly in the middle of nowhere, had very little light pollution. And so, on the beautiful clear nights we were fortunate enough to get, there were so many stars in the sky. Staying up late and watching the sky was such a treat, a reminder of how awesome God’s creation is.

3. It doesn’t matter how you pray, just do it…

Everyone participated in a track about mission and an aspect of our faith. I went to one on prayer. The first two sessions were about why we pray and who we pray to; this felt mostly like revision, although they were very encouraging. The best one, though, was undoubtedly the final one (about how and what we pray). With what we’d covered in the first two sessions, it was good to know that we have the Spirit interceding for us, so that it doesn’t matter how we pray, as long as we do it. And it made me start thinking about how to encourage others to pray, using various creative means.

4. It’s easier to talk to people than you think…

Being an introvert, camping alongside over 1,000 other people was a little intimidating. But you’d always be able to strike up a friendly conversation with a complete stranger. Mostly consisting of: Name, University, Course, CU role, and occasionally, favourite type of hat. Each of us in our region got a randomly selected other person to bless at some point during the week as well, and I ended up having a really good conversation with my person.

5. Loud music = no voice…

The band at times of worship was very loud. I could barely hear myself sing, and the lines were often pretty high. And I didn’t know most of them. But it was good to try another form of worship to the more traditional things I’m used to. And when we did a piece a cappella, the sound of over 1,000 voices singing in unison was one of the most powerful things I experienced that week.

6. It’s a small world…

I met a few people at Forum who I knew from my home church. Whilst it didn’t surprise me to find them there, I didn’t imagine I’d actually meet people I knew outside of my university.

7. Perhaps the Lord…

If there’s one phrase that will stick with me for a long time after Forum, it will be this. The Lord can do great things. We pray to a Lord who can do great things. Obviously there will always be challenges. But perhaps the Lord can do great things on campus in the coming year.

Forum anecdotes may or may not follow…

 

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