Starting Well – Freshers Week & Student Mission with Miriam Swaffield

What does it mean to start well?

In student ministry, the start of the year is crucial – that’s not news to anyone. But what if starting well meant more than just getting all the Christians into a church? No doubt, the transition between churches is so important.

But what if freshers week could be about inviting a generation to try church? That’s exactly what our podcast is on today. More specifically, it’s on how we do that.  Miriam shared loads of great ideas in the podcast (which you can find on iTunes or Soundcloud) – including ideas for multiple different contexts. But here are a few of our favourites.

3 ways to make the most of freshers week

1) Talk about invitation

You might think this is obvious, but do your students know that they’re not only allowed to invite their friends, but are encouraged to invite their friends to your church or small group?

We make a big deal of this at The Belfrey – during the first term of freshers we show a student welcome video, and will intentionally welcome those who are new to church and who wouldn’t consider themselves Christians.  Simply acknowledging (from the front of Church) that people might not believe in Jesus, and yet making clear that they are completely welcome can be transformative in encouraging your students to bring their non-Christian friends along.

2) Get involved with what’s going already on

In many uni towns, there will be street pastors or street angles. If you haven’t heard of them before, google your city and see if you have them! These are people committed to serving the clubbers on their nights out. Why not go out and join them! Serve, be distinctive, offer support. It’s so simple but can make such a difference.

You might also have heard of #trychurch, which gets local churches on uni campus at the freshers fair. There may well be one near your uni – why not drop Fusion a message and see if they need any help? This is a great way to connect with loads of freshers as they walk past.

3) Put on food before/after church

Every year we order loads of pizza for after our evening service. It does take a bit of budget – but you would be amazed at how many students we get showing up for the free pizza.

It wouldn’t even need to be pizza though – what about doing hot chocolate and cake? Or getting church families who are happy to do a Sunday lunch after church. Fundamentally, there is something deeply biblical and community building about sharing food together. And every student – regardless of what they believe – will be missing home on some level during freshers week.

Make it easy for your students to bring their non-Christian friends along – put on some food before or after a service.

For loads more suggestings, along with great insight from Miriam into student culture and some of her stories about how she got involved with Student Mission, check out the podcast.

Resources mentioned in this podcast:



Small Groups, Big mission book





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