As any student might be able to tell from the sea of matching jumpers across campus, Christian Union Events Weeks are upon us.

The publicity is beginning to pop up on social media, you’ve received pleas to brand your profile picture and start those invitation conversations’, and you’re probably feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety about it all. How are you going to be able to serve at enough events, invite all your friends along, not completely neglecting your degree, and remember to keep God at the centre?

Having experienced three cycles of Events Weeks during my time at university, I know the feelings all too well, and would like to offer some top tips for enjoying, not just enduring, Events Week. I pray that, as you read, you will receive the peace of the Holy Spirit and say yes to God’s invitation for you to rest in Him as you serve the people that God has placed around you:

Seek Jesus first, not the stories:

Hopefully, there will be such an amazing buzz surrounding the stories of transformation during Events Week; and rightly so! It was genuinely so exciting every time my friends opened up about life and faith in a way they hadn’t before, prompted by something the speaker said or read in a gospel. But, it was also a huge temptation to start being more in awe of that buzz’ than I was of Jesus. If you want to be able to tell great stories of how your friends met Jesus, choose to think and speak more about Him than the lunch bar, cool lighting, or aesthetic café on offer. Let the tools remain tools, and instead keep seeking the One who can really use them.

Don’t rule anyone out, ever:

One of the biggest lessons I took away from Events Week is that God truly is the God of surprises. People who, I will admit to you now, I had pretty much written off. People who, I told myself, would never accept an invitation. They were exactly the people who encouraged me and so many of my Christian friends the most! It turns out they were the very people who Jesus wanted to draw closer to, and so He did. I will never forget the night I got to pray for one friend and share in their amazement as they felt the tangible presence of God with them, in the middle of a big gazebo in a field. That is the sheer joy of Events Week. Instead of writing off that friend or course mate, write them on your prayer list and invite them along!

Choose grace over guilt:

Do whatever you’ve got to do to act from a posture of grace, not guilt. As Christians, we are freed from a life where our achievements are the only way to gain acceptance. Instead, we are fully accepted, regardless of any earthly successes. The enemy would love to see this busy week as an opportunity to make you forget that. Don’t let him. Press into the truth that you are loved beyond measure, whether ten friends come every night, or not a single one of them steps through the door.

Pray, pray, pray:

This is an obvious one, but one that can be far too easily forgotten in the midst of it all. Sometimes, I have a tendency to look at prayer as the at least” option in the face of disappointment and fear. But prayer is not a last resort; it is our first port of call on the mission to share God’s radical love with our friends. We get to ask God to do amazing things through our efforts, and He listens. Action is great, but it will amount to nothing unless we let God lead us in what He wants to do.

There is always more:

Finally, an encouragement if you don’t see transformation immediately at an event. One of the most meaningful conversations I had at university didn’t happen in the event marquee, but on a cold walk back to our accommodation. This person didn’t want to engage with me after the talk, so they left and I thought that was it. It was an hour later, when I bumped into them outside, that they opened up to me about their life in a way they never had before. Similarly, other friends never came to an event, but we still had the opportunity for really valuable conversations about Jesus during that week and the weeks after.

Whatever happens, remember that Jesus is still King. He always has been, and He always will be. The lives of everyone you care about are in His hands; He doesn’t stop just because Events Week does.