Phil Rainey was a student at Aigburth for the last 3 years before his vet studies took him over the water to the Wirral. Having just left church he’s got some useful things to say to students heading to Liverpool and some encouraging things to say to the rest of the church…
24th August 2015
Important advice for students
When you arrived in Liverpool what help was there to find a church?
I was quite fortunate that my older brother had went to uni in Liverpool before I arrived so he had some advice but mainly I found the Christian Unions Church Search a fantastic way of looking round different churches. Students in the CU from different churches will take you to a new church each Sunday and that makes it a lot easier than walking in on your own.
How many different churches did you go to?
I think I tried around 6 churches in total, going to some services in both the morning and the evening
How long would you recommend taking to decide on a church?
I would say around 4 weeks from when you arrive, the first semester flies by and before you know it, you could be home for Christmas before you’ve become settled in a church. So leave enough time to see a handful of churches but make the decision in time for you to get stuck in before first semester ends.
Why did you decide to go to Aigburth in the end?
Whenever I tried Aigburth for the first time, I know that was the Church God wanted me at, I felt settled and comfortable and had a peace about the decision. It was a community church where the students weren’t seperated as another group but everyone interacted with everyone – from the youngest to the oldest, the bible was always open and taught at a challenging and practical level and the worship was a mix of traditional and modern which was spot on for me.
In what ways has been a member at Aigburth helped you as a Christian student?
I was been taught something new each week and having my faith strengthened around a biblical core. I was also being challenged about how to live out my faith outside the church walls on a day to day basis. Integrating with the whole church community was also a big help, speaking with wiser people who had been in my situation and could offer advice as well as sharing with people younger than myself and just generally feeling loved as part of the church family was really reassuring.
In what ways were you able to serve others at Aigburth?
By turning up on Sundays and just talking to other people was the best way! Also doing the little things like serving tea and coffee, picking up empty mugs or sweeping floors is really helpful. In my 3rd year i got involved with the Friday Nite Club and I really enjoyed serving with that and knowing the leaders team a bit more as well as the children.
Were you able to get involved in the Christian Union as well?
I certainly was, I feel getting involved with both the Christian Union and the Church made for a fantastic experience. Being taught and challenged on Sunday at Aigburth, to then go out and put it into practice with the CU was a fantastic opportunity. The CU is a mission team on campus and to get to know other students from all different backgrounds, who all love God and serve God together in the uni was an experience i’ll never forget.
What advice do you have for a student arriving in Liverpool and looking for a church?
University can be tough, but a good church will help you through it. So take time (but not too long) and find one where you know suits you and make sure you join for the right reasons, just because everyone else is going to a certain church doesn’t necessarily make it the right one for you. Look for a church where you’ve been welcomed into and feel at home, and also a church where you faith will grow through what the bible is teaching. Finally its not all about what the church gives you, its about how you can give back to the church.