Blog

Why come on a 9:38 Student Conference?

Nine Thirty Eight

Why come on a 9:38 Student Conference?

Heard about a 9:38 Student Conference coming up near you (in Bristol, Lancaster, London and Birmingham)? Wondering whether it would be worth going along? We asked three students, Rika, Adam & Issy what they thought of the conferences last year - hopefully their answers will entice you to come along!

Rika 

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and I heard the gospel from a young age. I came to England to study Linguistics at Lancaster University and started going to Moorlands Evangelical Church. It was here that I begun to understand more what it means to follow Jesus.

What had you been thinking about full-time ministry before the conference? How had your church been encouraging you? 

My initial impression of full-time ministry was that it was only for those who were in someway ‘called’ but when I came to university my church encouraged every Christian to be active in gospel ministry. When I was in the third year of my undergraduate degree, I got involved with leading Bible studies in the international group. The opportunity to serve the internationals gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to be in full-time ministry. It also made me realise how rewarding it is to serve with God’s people in order to grow God’s kingdom, which lasts in eternity. I was also encouraged by people at church to think about the Ministry Training Scheme. 

What difference did coming on the conference make in your thinking? How could it help someone else? 

The conference reshaped my thinking on how to make decisions and how to search for God’s will. It helped me to understand that God is sovereign and he has revealed his will clearly in the Bible. So instead of passively waiting to be ‘called’ or asking for God’s specific guidance, we are free to make decisions that are in line with God’s word. God is powerful to use decisions we make for his purposes. I also learned that every Christian should be involved in the ministry of disciple-making in everyday life. Full-time ministry is being freed up to do more of this word ministry. 

What did you decide to do after graduating, and why?

I decided to join the Ministry Trainee Scheme (MTS) at Moorlands Church. Since every Christian is called to be in gospel ministry, I hoped MTS would equip me greatly for a lifetime of ministry. I also enjoyed doing word ministry and was eager to be trained to teach God’s word better. Knowing that God is sovereign, I am confident that God guides me through my situations and gifts. Although I have not yet made a decision to commit to full-time ministry in the long term, MTS is giving me lots of opportunities to try it out in a variety of different contexts.

Adam

My name is Adam Grimes and I have just graduated from Imperial College London after having studied Biology for 3 years. I loved my time at university, getting stuck into a lovely church called Christ Church Kensington, the CU, Shaolin Kung Fu and looking after freshers as a hall senior.

What made you even consider coming on a 9:38 student conference last year?

University was a real time of christian growth for me and I was so blessed to receive incredible discipleship in 1:1’s and small groups. Hence relative to so many in the UK and abroad I had been immensely well resourced and wanted to consider whether ministry therefore would be a good way to serve the gospel and share the teaching I received. People at church also recommended considering ministry and reminded me of the real need to raise up gospel workers. From a friend I then heard about the conference and thought it would be a great way to find out what ministry would really entail.

In what ways was the conference a help / encouragement / challenge? Did it answer all your questions? 

The conference was incredibly helpful and offered fantastic teaching, especially on what we should look for in leaders (primarily holiness and secondarily gifting and the desire to serve in ministry). Group work was great to be able to engage with people from all over to talk honestly about ministry and have the chance to ask all our questions to people who had served full time in churches for many years. The conference was also a great reminder that even if we don’t work for a church we still are called to serve the gospel with our whole lives and so in one sense we are all full time gospel workers.

What have you decided to do after graduating, and why? 

I am working for a technology start up in a sales position because at the moment I don't think i'm ready for full time paid ministry. My job is also fairly flexible with hours and hence has allowed me not only to earn money to support the church but also serve as a small group leader for the coming year, which I am incredibly excited for but deeply aware of my need for God to work through my weakness. The conference has really allowed me to have ministry at the back of my mind for the future however and to better understand what my church leaders do on a daily basis.

Issy

Although I’m a Londoner at heart, I’m currently going into my third and final year at University of Birmingham, as an English Literature with Creative Writing student. Not only does this involve plenty of reading, but also often warrants frequent questions about my future career as the next Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling!

What had you been thinking about full-time ministry before the conference? How had your church been encouraging you? 

I’m lucky to be part of a church family that gives its students lots of contact with ministry trainees and really encourages serving, something which makes you feel very needed as part of the church body. It is also very evident that, out of love, church leaders want us to make wise choices for now and for the future. Having seen the way my older sister had grown and developed during her two years of full-time church ministry, I already had a bit of exposure to it. Not being something I had truly considered as a path for myself, the one-on-one support and persuasion from church to consider these things at a 9:38 conference was really valuable.

What difference did coming on the conference make to your thinking? How could it help someone else?

The informal nature of the student conference, the group discussions and seminars, clarified what full-time ministry is, exploring the demands of such work, as well as demonstrating what ministry might look like for a single or a married person. For students, blessed with so many opportunities and choices, it’s often a challenge to align the desires of your heart with God’s will, and the conference also explored matters such as this. Although gospel ministry is for everybody, full-time ministry isn’t. The conference prompts you to question how best to serve Christ most faithfully in any workplace, as well as at your home church: How to become more well-rounded disciples, whilst giving that very gentle, but necessary reminder that, ‘None of this is really about me. It’s about God and his glory’.

What have you decided to do after graduating, and why?

I’m a great planner. Having said that, as of yet, my final plans post-graduation remain undecided! Going into ministry training at City Church is certainly a very real and exciting option. However, owing to my degree, as well the desire to be in a people-based job, I am also considering remaining in Birmingham to pursue a course in special-needs teaching, or training to teach English as a foreign language. Ultimately, freeing myself from the weight of these uncertain plans, and instead anticipating God’s will, is such a blessing. However, something I realised at the conference back in 2015, speaks to me now: so long as we are ‘seeking first his kingdom’, (Matthew 6:25-34), God expects and, out of love, truly encourages his people to make their own decisions.