One of the students gets up thanks the organising committee, thanks people for helping with the student gathering. A student from Malaysia talks about feeling called to mission but facing reluctant parents. he speaks about how the stories which have encouraged him. He thanks the other students and the staff for investing time in the students. Genesis from Nigeria now comes to the front. He talks about how his exams have been brought forward three weeks, and how he will miss his exams, choosing not to miss World Assembly. He went back to his room and the students back in Nigeria had prayed and his lecturer had commanded his lecturer to shift the exams to the 8th of August. Lord of the Universe and Lord of the university indeed.
Ramez Attallah (IFES Pres).
In 1992 earthquake in the city of Cairo - Ramez suggested earthquakes in the Bible resource. The staff wondered why Ramez thought of that, because they did not. Ramez thought hard about why - he remembered back to his student days responding to a crisis on campus over pornography, producing a tract in order to address the issue. It was the student's responsibility to respond. Student initiative. This conviction is built in the student world. We must resist staff leading student movements, we must reject the idea that students are not as mature as in previous generations.
STUDENT LEADERSHIP IS:
Essential. The IVCF Canada built convictions in Ramez that are the main basis on which he built his life: responsibility - for the mission field; Leadership is delegation of responsibility to others and allowing them to make mistakes, a strong leader is one who will weaken a movement because they will do it all and dis-empower them; faith and life must be integrated taking seriously the place of life; Simpler lifestyle - a graduated tax, raising the percentage of tithing as income increases; Inductive Bible study - it is about observing the text and listening to other people, negotiating disagreements and seeking to understand people; Interdenominational - respect for various Christian traditions, we do not believe God's work is limited to one denomination. It is essential but it is also effective.
Effective Staff led groups will have staff lead concerns but student led groups reflect the needs and passions of them and other students. If students know that they don't plan and work then the group will fail - then the group becomes owned BY the students. Student stories - all students are under 20 years of age. 1967 - 2 vice presidents: Don Carson was a troublesome leader, never would it have been guessed that he would become. Becky Wilkinson, was a little worldly and interested in boys - she became Ramez's wife. A student 'Jane' was from a family who led Ramez to the Lord, after she got married she left her husband, her friends and The Lord. Another student, Winnie had a massive vision for campus - he extended his course to 5 years, twice receiving the prize for the most valuable student. He's now a leading expert in electrical grids. Another student got burned out in the work.
Economical - the best volunteer staff are those who have been trained as student leaders, usually they have unlimited access to campus, are a renewable resource and keep staff grounded and humble. The leaders of a student group - if truly released into leadership.
For students - an important point of learning. OVer 40 years of ministry experience there is a characteristic which is clear. The successful are usually TASK rather than GIFT orientated. The task that God is calling you to - leave gifts alone until you need them.
I love Ramez Attalah - every time I've heard him speak about students and student leadership my heart beats in recognition of God's call on my life. This is a profound call and challenge to our ministry - the heart of it in engaging the university.
The stage is set for a drama, a number of students come onto the stage - it is a competition Mr and Ms World Assembly. The contestants: Ms Scripture, Ms Evangelism, Mr Finance, Ms Vountary Work, Mr Training, Ms Commitment, Mr Diversity, Ms Busy-ness, Mr Lack of Depth, Ms Staffworker.
The students are processing and presenting the vision for the different elements of student work. They are speaking about the whole vision of IFES. There is good humour and real passion as they speak. It is a massive joy to hear them present. Before the vote for the best contestant - there is question and answer. Staff and students present questions to the panelists. The answers speak of confidence in evangelism, of a vision for current students to become future staff, of the need to train students so that they can lead and for the need to be clear headed.
The evening ends with a student song