Guide to setting up a CU

Setting Up A Christian Union – Guide

Why do we need a CU?

School or college can be a busy place, people can be rushing to get work done and teachers can be rushing to mark work…add into this exams, friendships and socialising and school can be crammed full of business.

However the question that most Christians wonder is ‘how can I be a Christian at school’ and so a Christian Union can be essential…so that Christians can meet together and support each other in a school environment…it might even be a safe place to bring friends who aren’t Christians.
Who should my CU be for?

Every school does things differently…some Christian groups are just for lower or upper school whereas others may cover years 7 right up to 13…both can be effective and it depends totally on the needs of the young people. For example if your sixth formers are in very early stages of faith a group for all ages might not work as they’ll need feeding as much as the younger ones.

How do I go about setting up a group?

If you have a relationship with the school already then it’s worth approaching someone on senior leadership in the school about the idea…if there are Christian teachers you know of in school it might be worth talking to them about what they think a group could be like too…they might even want to get involved!

It’s important that you get people praying about this right from the start!

If you’re not in the school on a regular basis it might be worth asking a Christian teacher to take overall responsibility for the group, this way the headteacher will know the staff member in charge already and it may make them feel at ease.
Where should I hold it?

Room in school can be scarce…finding a comfortable space can be even more difficult. Whilst a classroom may not be ideal it might be the only option you have but if you can get a meeting room with comfy chairs then this may effect the dynamic of your group. You could approach a Christian teacher in school about using one of their classrooms for it.
Some considorations about choosing a room…

Is it in a part of the school that everyone will feel comfortable going to, I.e. lower years may not feel comfortable going into the sixth form area.

If you want a video projector is there easy access to one where you are?

What are the chairs like? Comfortable chairs could give a more laid back, relaxed feeling for the group.

Bibles? Not everyone may have or remember to bring their bible, many groups like to be in R.E. rooms so that they can get bibles easily.

When should my CU be?

The majority of groups meet at lunchtime however by the time students have got lunch from the canteen this can leave you with a very short period of time so you may need to look at potentially running it after school. It’s important to talk to students about what they would like from this…there’s no point running one after school if they just want to go home!

What should I call it?

Some CU’s simply go for Christian Union…whilst this is exactly what it says on the tin it’s also a little stuffy sounding…here are some name ideas;
X-Plore!
Explore
Sorted
Discovery
The Forum
Crossroads
Rocksolid

Launching & Promoting your CU

Assemblies – An easy way to make sure everyone knows about it is to do an assembly…you might lead the whole assembly to introduce the idea or just do a few minutes pop-up.

Posters – Try and produce some eye-catching posters that can be put up around school.

Digital Media – Many schools have a visual learning environment (VLE)…Can you get a CU page on this?

Churches – Many students who come will already attend local churches and youth groups so make sure you let the church’s youth leaders know and ask them to promote the CU around the young people in their groups.

That’s pretty much it!

As time goes on you might need to remind people that CU exists in assemblies…you might need to tweak the programme to work for those who come and you may even need to change the day or time but whatever happens a CU can be a really exciting group to be involved with in school.

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  • Amelia

    I’m in year 12 currently (also christian). I feel like God is calling me to set up a Christian union in my school for all years. I’m just not sure how to go about it? I’ve been given prayer for it, I’m just unsure where to even start and how to promote it without alienating people. as i feel an assembly would put everyone in an uncomfortable position and it would be more likely to turn people away rather than engage them?

  • Hi Amelia,

    That’s completely understandable and sometimes assemblies aren’t the best place to promote it.

    The first step would be to see if there are any Christian teachers in the school that you know of…if so they may be up for helping you set this up (Your church/youth group leaders may also be able to help).

    Failing that a chat to the head or deputy head would be a good starting place in terms of getting permission.

    In terms of publicising it, once you’ve got an idea of when it’ll run you could go for posters around school or ask for it to be announced in form groups…you could also invite other Christians you know or even promote it around other local youth groups and churches.

    If you’ve got any questions/thoughts feel free to comment again and I’ll try and help out!

    Mark

  • Anna Meachem

    Hi Amelia, I’m in year 12 as well and I have been running a CU in my school for 4 years now. Have you had any success in starting one in your school yet?

  • Sieh Jin Kiew

    hullo amelia,

    greetings from Malaysia! there is a para-church organisation called Scripture Union (SU) which gives support and help to Christian Unions in schools. at least, that’s a big part of their ministry here in Malaysia (here we usually call ’em CFs – Christian Fellowships), and i think it should be the same in UK which is where SU first began.

    you can check out some of SU’s resources available at their website: http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/2885.id. there is also contact info there, you could get in touch with the SU worker nearest to you. i’m sure they would be glad to give you whatever help and support you need.

    one last thing – i’m encouraged and blessed by your heart for God and His people, how you have heard His calling to start a Christian Union in your school and how you are doing your best to find information and resources in order to make it a reality. i pray that He will give you the wisdom, courage, and perseverance to do this! yeah! =D

    blessings,
    siehjin