Have you heard of CMF's National Students' Committee? Do you know what it is? Well, just over a year ago I too would have answered 'no' to both those questions. Over the last year the National Students' Committee (NSC) has emerged and is now playing a vital role in CMF's student ministry. These are exciting times of great change and progress in our ministry and I would like briefly to outline the reasons for this new development, how it affects you and how you can be involved.
Why the NSC?
There are now over 1,000 student members in CMF. This has grown steadily since we first could become members of CMF 40 years ago. In 1973 a committee of London students was formed to help develop student work, which later became the Students' Coordinating Committee (SCC). Back then the SCC was statistically far more representative of CMF medical students nationally. However, with the merging of London schools, inclusion of the Irish Republic in CMF, and opening of new schools nationwide, the SCC is now comprised from just five out of 38 schools (13%) and is no longer nationally representative.
Because of this and because of CMF's continually expanding student ministry we decided last year that it would be a good time to look at how we involve key students in CMF's activities and help them to own and take responsibility for developing the student ministry further, for example in areas such as ethics and world mission. After extensive consultation of CMF members, staffworkers, medical school secretaries and those in authority at CMF, a proposal was drawn up for a new National Students' Committee. Subsequently at the annual general meeting at the students' conference in February, CMF student reps voted to accept the plans and the first members were elected to the new NSC, which met on 8 April.
What will the NSC do?
The aims of the NSC are the same as that of CMF, which you can find on the CMF website under four subtitles - Discipleship, Evangelism, Mission and Proclamation. Whilst this may sound impressive, it is really important that we achieve something when we meet together. To help with this, we have agreed on a number of short and long term plans. We aim to see short term goals implemented in the next year, with a five year development plan giving something to aim at. There are a number of projects in the pipeline and I'll outline a few that we are focussing on.
We are planning a membership drive for 2006/7. This will probably include posters and other publicity material, and has already led to us updating our national freshers' strategy. This is particularly exciting as with some organisation and hard work from all of us we can see many student members being added to CMF. Of course, we are not in a numbers game. However, it is surely our desire to reach students with the gospel and to encourage those who are saved to live lives that glorify Christ. CMF can play a vital part in all this. As part of CMF we have the privilege of receiving quality literature and being able to learn what it is to live as Christians in a hugely time-consuming and stressful profession. Let's tell our fellow Christian medics about CMF! More details will be available later this year.
Are you in a small medical school? Or in a large school with a small CMF group? Or in a previously large CMF group that has lapsed? We want to support you and are making plans to develop a more formal network to achieve this. CMF has a vast amount of resources that you can access and we want to make available to you. Furthermore, your regional representatives represent you on the NSC and we can therefore be in more regular contact with you and support you more effectively, whether it be through prayer or sending someone to speak at one of your events. You can also go to them with suggestions, prayer requests or ideas for national strategies. It might mean that you can plan a regional mini-conference or training event and you can also support each other through prayer.
Finally, we are focussing on having a more consistent presence in the BMA. For a number of years CMF has been co-opted to the Medical Students' Committee of the BMA but we have not had our place renewed in the past couple of years. One thing the NSC can do is to encourage each medical school to put forward at least one CMF member for election to the BMA Medical Students' Committee as we seek to be God's ambassadors in the ethical and medical arena.
The NSC is composed of two representatives from each of eight regions as well as a Chairperson, Student Secretary, Assistant Student Secretary, Nucleus Editor and staffworkers.
Currently the NSC will meet around three times a year, initially in London. NSC members must be nominated to be on the committee and will serve for two years wherever possible.
The London-based SCC will continue to meet as the Students' Conference Committee, a branch of the NSC. They will plan the annual students' conference as before, as well as London events. The national students' conference is the biggest conference in CMF's annual calendar, and has been a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching over the years. It is our intention that the quality of the conference will not diminish with the new structure and that we will continue to place as strong an emphasis on it as before.
I feel it is really important to mention that the NSC has been instituted not so that members feel more distanced from CMF but that they feel more included and more able to benefit from the resources CMF has to offer. The NSC is quite simply a group of students who represent you, and therefore we need your input and feedback. Please feel free to email either myself (email@example.com) or your medical school CMF rep (see CMF website) – we would love to hear from you!
This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and a new direction for CMF. We trust that God will guide us as we look to him for the next steps in this development. I was very moved at our first meeting to sit around a table with people who had travelled from all over the country as far as Scotland and Ireland to seek God and discuss topics like those outlined above. Let's pray that God is glorified through each one of us as we seek to serve him, and that the NSC might look to God and to his sovereign will in the weeks and months ahead.