How to make the most of Forum 2021
'I’m excited to take these ideas back to university in the hopes that many musicians will get to hear about Jesus through events that are unique and relevant to them.'
So said Durham music student Caitlin Hayton in her write-up of her experience at Forum 2019, the last time Forum happened in-person.
And so with Forum 2021 now but a couple of days away, here's a few tips for those coming on how to really squeeze as much juice out of Forum's fruit as you can possibly manage. Make sure you take time to engage in:
1. PraisePsalm 106:1 - Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.
Forum is an amazing opportunity to praise our Maker and Saviour Jesus, and to do so with hundreds of other students at similar stages to you from across the whole of the United Kingdom.
-Tip: Take some time out before you arrive to prepare your heart and mind to praise the Lord wholeheartedly, even amidst the mess and busyness of life, and then when you're at Forum, get along to the morning meetings and evening celebrations.
2. People1 Peter 1:22 - Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
After the Lord Jesus, Forum is primarily about people. It's about inspiring people to love Jesus more; it's about equipping people to share Jesus more; it's about empowering people to be bold and creative and effective in evangelism; and it's about spending time with and getting to know other people as you share life with them on a crowded campsite.
-Tip: Take some time to prepare your heart and to pray about meeting lots of other people, some you will know already and others you won't, and then when you're at Forum, enjoy reuniting with old friends, and take the initiative to get to know a few others, perhaps especially those looking a little more nervous.
3. PrayerEphesians 6:11-12,18 - Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ... And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
The devil would love to divide and will delight in tempting each of us to be impatient or to get ratty with each other. When many of us haven't been used to large crowds for nearly 18 months, we may be more susceptible than usual to this type of thing, so we will need to be fighting the spiritual battle with prayer.
-Tip: Take some time, before Forum, and during Forum, to pray for everyone there, and for yourself, for the Spirit to cultivate a special measure of love and patience in your heart, and for all you learn to cause you to delight in and glorify Jesus more and more. And get along to the morning prayer meetings to enjoy praying with others - 7.15-8am in the Fringe Stage, Tuesday to Friday.
4. PlanningProverbs 15:22 - Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Forum is a brilliant time for you as CU leaders or those who are influential in your CU to plan your CU's activities (both social and evangelistic) for the year ahead so that you hit the ground running once you're actually back on campus.
-Tip: Come to the Music Network training track (Studio, Tue 4.30 & Thu 11.30) on how best to reach out to fellow musicians, and then make the most of the 'CU Forum' slots to actually make solid plans for the term, if not year, ahead, with real action points to be undertaken by specific deadlines, so that stuff actually happens!
5. PlayPsalm 81:2 - Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.
Forum is fun! It's a great time to enjoy friendship and fellowship and fun times of all sorts with other students of your age and stage, facing similar challenges to you. As music students, take the opportunity to play with others, in a relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere.
-Tip: Bring your instruments and make time to jam with others. Whether it's Bach duos or jazz improv, come ready to share and ready to play.