I concluded my university ministry at the end of 2003, due to my upcoming wedding so as to have more time to serve my family. But I have left this page here, as a record of what I was doing for 11 years in Italy. You need to read all this text in the past, even though it is written in the present tense.
There are two aspects to my ministry amongst university students. One is the work I do locally at the University of Trent. The other half is my work nationally (and internationally) with the Gruppi Biblici Universitari (GBU), which brings together similar groups throughout Italy.
By Italian standards, the university at Trent is rather small, with 14,000 students. There are only six faculties: Sociology, Economics, Law and Literature/Languages in the city (the faculties where I have mostly worked), and Engineering and Science slightly outside. It caters mainly for students in the region, although due to the limited choice of faculties, many people, though living at Trent, study at other universities, and some have participated in GBU activities. On the other hand, some of the faculties are recognised as the best in Italy in their field, and so attract students from other parts of the country. There is also a high proportion of foreign students, especially Western Europeans, as spending a year on exchange in another country is strongly encouraged, and in some courses compulsory, within the European Union.
At the university, my desire is to give students the opportunity to hear, understand and respond to the Bible, and to its message, that is Jesus Christ. The main method I have used is through weekly Bible studies during the academic year, meeting at the university. I also organise advertising and evangelistic events, with the aim of attracting students to the studies through them.
Even before I arrived in Italy, I had decided to work at the university in conjunction with the GBU. Not only because being part of a bigger organisation would benefit the group at Trent, but because I had benefitted and learnt some much from the equivalent organisation in Australia (the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) that I wanted to be able to give something back to it. So I am one of the GBU staff, participating in planning meetings, and in the national student activities. These vary a bit from year to year, but include weekends for all the GBU students in Italy, summer evangelistic missions, student training weekends, mission trips to Albania and European conferences.