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;
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.