If there is no Theology Network hub currently meeting in your CU, you could start one. How do you go about doing that?
First, let us know you want to start a hub
You don’t have to do it alone. Let UCCF’s Theology Network Co-ordinator know that you want to start a hub – assisting you in setting up and running a hub is one of their top priorities. They will help you clarify the vision for the hub, think practically about what shape it should take, and gather a group of like-minded friends around you.
They will also point you to resources and talks that your hub can engage with and find someone in your city to support you more permanently as your Leadership Network Partner (LNP).
It’s also important to bring your CU Staff Worker and committee in on the process. Send them a message or copy them into your emails with the Theology Network Co-ordinator.
Gather enthusiastic peers
After that, it can be quite straightforward to get a hub started – just advertise it in freshers’ week and announce it in the CU and the theology department. That may be enough to attract a dozen or more people to your first few meetings.
But, if that’s all you do, it probably won’t last long. People will come for their own reasons and may want to take the group in different directions. If you’re carrying the vision for Theology Network on your own, it will be very difficult to keep the group focussed, and when you’re ready to hand over the leadership, there may be no-one appropriate to carry the vision forward.
What you need are like-minded sisters and brothers who will stand with you, united in purpose and in the gospel.
So you’ll need to get talking and share the vision: talk to your friends about your ideas and the need for a group, talk about theology that creates love for God, read the Bible with these friends and see Jesus and His gospel on every page (cf. Luke 24). Pray and think carefully about whom you should invest time in sharing the vision with.
It might be that you already have these ‘vision sharers’ around you. But it’s just as likely that time is needed for you to share the vision with others, and more time for them to grasp it and own it, before you start organising a programme of events or meetings. So, think people first, programmes second.
Having done all that, get going with the group. Choose a regular time and place to meet and advertise it in your CU and theology department. Put together a plan for how you'll use your time together, making space to go through common challenges and questiosn that come up on your course. Look through the resources on the website for inspiration and discussion starters. Your programme could be filled with talks or mostly consist of open discussion around key issues - either way keep the vision of the group central, to know and love Christ in your theology.
What if I can’t make a hub work?
If you feel the need for a hub but you find that there aren’t the numbers, support, or time to keep a local hub going effectively in the long-term, there are other options. You may be able to get involved in a regional hub with a cluster of theology departments, or a subject-based hub with students who focus on a similar area of Theology or Religious Studies.
You can talk all these things through and any other questions you might have with the Theology Network Co-ordinator.
So, if you are interested in starting a hub, email the Theology Network Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org