Josh is a university student in Bath. For two years, he’d been inviting a friend to go with him to church. His friend wasn’t interested, and at times he was even vehemently opposed to the idea. But two weeks before the coronavirus lockdown began, he asked Josh if they could go to church together. They did.

Shortly after this, when churches around the UK closed to help supress the spread of COVID-19, Josh and his friend joined an online church and a small group. Josh also decided to take part in Fusion UK’s small group online training so he could be better equipped to support his friend in his newfound faith.

Josh is one of more than 600 students and student workers who have been trained by Fusion during the lockdown to lead small groups – a number that the organisation wouldn’t be able to train in such a short time had they run the course face to face.

The training, which originally launched in September 2018, was quickly adapted to online delivery so that it’d still be available amid the pandemic. It has so far been a great way during these unprecedented times to equip and mobilise Christian university students and student workers as they seek to minister to young adults, many of whom will be completely new to Christianity, and lead small groups.

This is an uncertain and uncomfortable season for university students and new graduates, as well as those who were planning to start university this year. Viki Taylor, communications developer at Fusion, said, It’s been this year’s graduates who have been contacting Fusion most often since the lockdown started. For them, the COVID-19 crisis has caused more problems than cancelled graduation ceremonies: many don’t know what to do about applying for jobs or moving home. Many are living with a lot of uncertainty.”

And those who were planning to start university this year are similarly in limbo. Viki continued: As the lockdown started, a lot of young people who were about to start university in September came to us with questions, not only the usual ones, but also asking if it even worth going to university, paying at least £9k per annum to learn online?” 

So, the UK’s student population would benefit from having even more people like Josh – Christian peers who can be a hopeful, encouraging and non-anxious presence as young adults and universities work out their next steps. Fusion is keen to stress that right now and as we move towards a greater sense of normality, it remains committed to helping the Joshes’ out their serve their peers.

Viki said, In addition to the small group training, we have a range of resources available on our website to prepare and inspire students and student workers for a life of mission and discipleship at university, even amid the pandemic, so we do urge you to check these out and find out if they might be suitable for you or someone you know.” 

Many don’t know what to do about applying for jobs or moving home. Many are living with a lot of uncertainty.