As I write this just after the conclusion of Forum 2023, there is so much to take in. Forum was a genuinely encouraging and useful time for both me as an individual and our CU, to encourage real excitement for the gospel and to allow structured time to reflect and plan as a CU for the coming year.
A day in the life of a muso at Forum
Whilst no two days at Forum were the same, almost every day for me started with my airbed being manoeuvred in order that I rush at once to the daily morning meeting! These were much the same format as the 'Morning Celebrations' at Word Alive (if that helps anyone) - i.e. sung worship, interviews with students, a message - and had a week-long series of talks on Gideon from Judges 6-8, given by Manchester-based pastor Matt Waldock.
After this, we would all diverge to different Mission Equipping Tracks (METs). I found Gerard Charles and Bethany Prendergast’s MET Mission and The Cross very helpful in giving me a deeper understanding of doctrine around sin and the Cross and in equipping me with useful tools for explaining them to people from a number of cultural backgrounds.
We would then meet for lunch around our campsite, which was grouped by region, which provided a great opportunity to meet with people from CUs across London and to discuss our different METs. The afternoons allowed time to read, rest (or play spikeball), and go to various one-off seminars such as (shout out to Tom Chevis) a Music Network seminar on what whole-life discipleship looks like as a musician / music student, including lots of practical advice. This allowed a great opportunity to meet loads of new Christian musicians which was both a real joy, and useful in terms of learning from each other.
The evenings were spent cooking and eating at the tents, providing time to chat about our various seminars, before heading to the nightly 'Evening Celebration' which had a different speaker each day providing encouragement and challenging thoughts from various sections of Scripture, this year all on the theme of courageous. David Montgomery’s talk provided great motivation for sharing the gospel with people from all nations, charting this theme from Genesis 10 through to Pentecost in Acts 2, and the following night, American evangelist Becky Manley Pippert’s talk provided lots of worked examples on evangelism in practice, including strategies for starting quality conversations about Jesus with people in our lives.
After the Evening Celebrations there were numerous 'After Hours' activities on offer and more time to meet up and chill with old and new friends, before enjoying a full and good night of sleep in the tents...
Valuable time together
One of the most encouraging things about Forum is the time spent as a CU. This time together was not only valuable for planning Freshers' Week activities and beyond as a CU, but also brilliant for getting to know each other better, through prayer, Bible study and of course, camping. The theme of all the Evening Celebrations - 'courageous' - was further fuel for quality thought and conversations as CUs, and with the wider group in the camp site.
I would fully recommend Forum for 2024, or indeed any future years, to anyone undecided on whether they want to go or not.