As the fall semester comes to a close for university and college students, here’s a look-back at what happened in Navigator campus groups across the country:
Queen’s University, with Dan McIver
Throughout the semester we have seen encouraging signs of transformation. We started a chapel program for the men’s varsity hockey team this term, and after three chapel services, we have about six guys from the team coming out. Another group of 12 guys have been working through the Mission Immersion program together to further develop their perspectives on how they can apply mission to their lifestyles. Two book clubs looking at Hugh Halter’s book Flesh have also emerged, one for our senior students/associate staff and another for men in the community. We have had quite an encouraging season of energy and activity for our Run and Read program, which is having its best year yet.
Hamilton, with Don Corry
Our leadership team in Hamilton is investing time in many one-to-one relationships. If you wander around the cafeterias or coffee shops on campus you can catch a veteran leader pouring over the Scriptures with a student or two. Each Thursday night, those without classes join us at our Compass meeting for a discussion dinner on the Sermon on the Mount. One highlight was how God used the cancellation of our retreat booking three days before the fall retreat with the Western Navigators. We scrambled and crafted a one day conference at our national office in London. Ron Pagé skillfully directed us on how we can embrace our fear and anxiety. One of the students who attended the conference is an engineering student named Brian. He has been journeying with us for a year and has been mentored by Jamie DeSantis. After the conference, he decided to commit his life to following Jesus. Also, three women on the varsity soccer team meet each week with Navstaff Darci Kovac. In November, they recruited most of their teammates to hear about the reliability of the Bible. Many left with Bibles and we hope several will join their Christian teammates in an investigative discussion in the New Year.
University of British Columbia, with Richie Speidel
The UBC campus ministry has continued to see progress this fall. One of our core goals is to create spaces where people can do life together no matter what stage they are at on their spiritual journey. These spaces help build trust relationships with those who are seeking by allowing them to see the gospel lived out in community, helping to open doors for spiritual conversations. Some of these spaces have been our intramural soccer team (where we just won the division championship), coaching in our Reading and Running Program with elementary school kids, serving meals downtown with Mission Possible and our Community nights. We just wrapped up our Christmas dinner, which also doubled as a fundraiser for a single-mom family we are connecting with through the YWCA. The UBC Navigator alumni group blessed us mightily by planning and running the program and cooking a delicious dinner for the somewhat pre-exam stressed students. It brings special joy to our hearts to see these grads investing their time and effort into the next generation.
University of Calgary, with Rick McCallum
University of Saskatchewan, with Robert Koop
After a fun-filled BBQ kick-off, we were up and running. Our weekly meetings have focused on the theme “Encountering Jesus”. We considered those who had an encounter with Jesus: Nicodemus, the paralytic, the rich young ruler, the Samaritan woman, the woman who anointed Jesus and Saul. It was special to have the student leaders lead some of these discussions. Our last meeting was centered on
“Encountering Jesus during Christmas” with a focus on the shepherds and how they responded to God’s message of peace. At the end of each month we had a Celebration Meal & Social, all great times of fun and relationship building. Another highlight was having Chris Barrett, our National Director, join us, where he engaged students in discussions related to encountering Jesus. In a variety of ways the gospel of the Kingdom was presented to a wide array of people this past semester.
Carleton University, with Brenda Wang
The past six months have been marked by transition. Our campus leader has stepped into the National Director role, Carleton grad Bruce Narbaitz began a part-time internship over the summer and former Kingston Navigator staff brenda wang moved to Ottawa to help support the students and develop leaders. It has also been a semester of students stepping into greater ownership and leadership as they are coached and helped by staff, stepping out of their comfort zones to be pro-active in welcoming new students.
Small groups have been regularly meeting with topics as diverse as our students – a Bible overview, the book of Romans, a women’s book study on fears and insecurities. It is within these smaller gatherings that students can wrestle with deeper issues of the Christian faith, forge friendships and mentor one another. Our partnership with the Running and Reading program in two schools continues under the directorship of several students and volunteers. People from various walks of life band together to positively influence inner city elementary school kids, which also leads to conversations about Jesus with friends who aren’t Christ followers.
The Western Navigators, with Munjula Saito
During the September O-Week, Janelle Lightbourne organized our Faith and Science talk, featuring Dale Laird, Canada Chair for Gap Junctions. It was the only faith event during the Alternate O-Week schedule and attracted more than 50 students.
With the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS), we started doing Alpha once a month with the students. They are doing a great job bringing their friends out, caring for classmates and engaging them with spiritual questions. Our “Socials with Locals” nights have local doctors opening up their homes and lives to students, and coming up is a missions night where doctors will be sharing their overseas experiences and a panel where graduating students will share their collective wisdom. Along with Alpha and the CMDS, our other small groups include Changes that Heal and The Barefoot Church. Coming up on January 21, we will host an event to educate students on the realities of porn trafficking. It will feature a talk by a Western professor on pornography and an interview with Shelley Lubben, a former adult film star. We want to show the connection between porn and human trafficking, that porn is not glamorous, consensual or entertainment.