Commission Student & 20’s (often referred to as CST) is a Commission run event specifically aimed at students and those in their 20’s.

The aim of the event is to equip and empower us to be outstanding witnesses to the love and life of Jesus Christ in our places of work and study. Held in Portsmouth Guildhall, it played host to a number of great guest speakers such as Guy Miller, Tim Blaber, Matt Hosier and the Founder of Newfrontiers, Terry Virgo – just to name a few. As I went to a similar Newfrontiers event called Mobilize a few years back, I decided to go to Portsmouth and check out CST 2015.

Over the course of the event, several meetings and seminars took place covering a whole range of topics. One of the seminars I really enjoyed was by Matt and Grace Hosier who gave a talk on the seven deadly sins (pride, anger, lust etc.) In the seminar they explained that pride is in every other sin and that we either have too much pride in ourselves/other people/things, or too little pride, which is where envy can come in. I found this seminar useful as I had never realised these sins were interlinked. It also opened my eyes to the reality that focusing on one kind of sin can cause us to be blindsided to other kinds and all sins are equal in God’s eyes.

The next seminar I attended was called ‘Handling Hot Potatoes’ and was led by Dr Michael Blaber. The seminar covered all sorts of ethical issues, with a main focus on medicinal advances. The Doctor began by asking us ‘What makes a potato hot?’ Most people gave thoughtful answers such as ‘Something people don’t want to handle’ or ‘Controversial issues’. I on the other hand mentioned an oven… once the laughter subsided I suggested a microwave as well (which apparently no-one has ever mentioned before, yet they cook potatoes so much quicker!)

Some of the other ‘Hot Potatoes’ we looked at were euthanasia and child deaths. These topics were hard to talk about as no-one really likes to discuss death, due to it being a rather depressing and often upsetting subject. Despite some initial awkwardness however, it was interesting to hear other people’s opinions on some rather controversial topics.

Through the weekend, God brought it upon two of the speakers to talk about Jonah and the second chance he got from God after sinning and turning away from Him. I believe we were given this message twice to reinforce the point of the story and to give us – the congregation, a second chance to respond to the message of repentance. This was felt by most as a sign that God wanted to do good works with the entire congregation, and put second chances in our hearts for a wide range of personal circumstances.

Speaking from experience, indoor camping was not the best way to get a good night’s sleep, but was a great way to get to know people. I made friends while waiting for showers to become free, talking in the toilets about pyjamas and offering someone some Sudocrem, all bizarre but simple ways to meet people! I have also been told that staying in the hotel – whilst comfy, was not soundproof and many of the local nightclubs were very close by!

Overall, if you didn’t attend CST this year, you were really missing out. Not on a good night’s sleep; but all the different seminars which shed light on some really hard to talk about issues. It was a great opportunity to spend more time with God and hang out with friend’s new and old alike, hope there’s a next time!

by Kim Whittle