Welcome to my first prayer letter as a UCCF Staff Worker. Thank you for signing up to receive these monthly updates – over the last few months since being appointed it has been a real joy, privilege and encouragement to speak to so many people about this job and see people keen to find out how I’m doing and pray.
Whether you’re an old friend of mine or a long-term supporter of St Andrews CU, I look forward to partnering with you in the coming years and hope that these updates provide an encouraging glimpse at what God is doing on St Andrews campus, as well as informing your prayers both for the CU and for me personally!
In future months I hope to make these updates more “all singing, all dancing”, with pictures and personal stories of what’s been happening, but since, at the time of writing, I haven’t actually started yet, I thought it would be good to use this first letter as an opportunity to fill you all in on the nuts and bolts of being a Staff Worker, what the next month is going to look like for me and what I’ve been doing up to this point.
What Does a UCCF Staff Worker Actually Do
I’ve been asked that question a lot in the last few months and the completely honest answer is I’m still working out exactly what my job will entail! But here are the basic facts.
I will be working alongside the Christian Union at St Andrews University (SAUCU) for the next few years and helping to equip them in their mission – to give every student in St Andrews an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. My
job is to help them be as effective in this as possible.
Practically that will look like meeting up with students, particularly those in CU leadership, running training seminars, giving talks and being at events run by the CU. I will also take part in a study programme, the idea being that as I learn more about who God is and grow in faith, I’ll be able to help the CU more and point them towards the amazing love of Jesus in everything they do. And I’m excited to get started!
So who is that Guy, Matty?
I realise that not everyone who receives these letters will know who I am! I’m originally from Portadown in Northern Ireland and lived there until I was 18. The summer before going to uni I became a Christian, and it was during my time studying at Newcastle University that I really started to work out what that means! After graduating in 2012, I moved to Stirling to do Relay, UCCF’s ten-month discipleship programme, before moving back to Newcastle where I worked as a church apprentice for two years, and I’ve just finished as a Student Worker at a church in Glasgow. The last four years since graduation have been one long lesson in who I am, who God is and how lost I am without His grace. I’m excited to keep learning these things during my time on staff!
Orientation, Forum, Advance
Orientation is a training week for all new UCCF staff members. As you read this letter, I’ll be in the Cotswolds, joining with everyone else who’s just joined staff for a week of team building, practical training and Bible teaching. This should be a helpful week of tuning in our focus and reminding ourselves exactly what a CU is.
Just a couple of weeks after this I’m on the road again for Forum, a training week for all Christian Union leaders in England, Scotland and Wales. Over 1,000 students will
gather on the Welsh border, most of them students involved in the leadership of their CU, for a week of Bible teaching and fellowship, as well as seminars tailored to specific CU roles and ideas, all informed by great teaching on the God of grace we’re sharing. Unfortunately, Forum falls during St Andrews term time, so none of my students will be able to make it along! But they will be having their own training event the weekend before: ‘Advance’ will give St Andrews CU a chance to catch up, have fellowship and tune their focus for the year ahead in campus mission.
● Safe travel to Orientation and Forum. They’re both very long drives from St Andrews!
● Helpful teaching, training and fellowship during Orientation and Forum, and that in general I’d be equipped in every way I need to be for this role.
● St Andrews CU as they run ‘Advance’ and prepare to meet new freshers. Pray that the CU would be excited at the prospect of telling new people about Jesus!
● Give thanks for God’s provision so far – of a place to live in St Andrews and of generous financial supporters. Pray for ongoing financial support.
● Me settling into life in a new place – new friendships to make, a new church to find and new coffee shops to discover can be quite daunting!