I had the privilege of being involved with this event celebrating one hundred and thirty years since the Cambridge Seven set sail for China. It was organised by OMF (the mission into which I was born), but was very much a collaborative effort with YWAM (the mission with which I now work) and WEC (the mission CT Studd founded), and there were also representatives present from most of Cambridge’s mission-minded populace.
The day started with David Harley, former OMF General Director, sharing some thoughts from Luke 10. Then we had Basil Scott, one of the Cambridge Seventy (a group of Cambridge students who came together in 1955 — seventy years after the Cambridge Seven — and pledged themselves to missionary service).
Unexpectedly, and most excitingly, we had Patrick Johnstone — the mastermind behind the inception of Operation World, the definitive guide to praying for the nations. He has an endless collection of fascinating slides showing the challenges and opportunities facing the church — but also a surprisingly mischievious glint in his eye. And he seemed to enjoy telling us about CT Studd’s ‘Don’t care a damn!’ motto as he did about the opportunities to reach the unreached in the Muslim world. (Well, almost!)
In the afternoon I took a large portion of those there for the day on a Tour of Cambridge’s Spiritual Heritage: pointing out the Corn Exchange, where DL Moody’s preaching caused something of a student revival; the Eagle, where William Wilberforce spent his time drinking before being radically saved into a life of evangelical activism; the Church of St Edward King & Martyr, where the first Reformation sermon was preached… et cetera. The group was I think the most interested and appreciative I have ever taken. It was certainly also the largest!
Most of those who had been there for the day left once the afternoon was over, and in the evening we had a different crowd of mainly students aged 17-21. The challenge went out to follow the example of the Cambridge Seven to fully obey the Great Commission — and a notable number stood up in response.
All in all a fantastic day to be a part of!