Louis Ashworth

A group called ‘Cambridge Christian Fellowship’ has been direct messaging Cambridge staff and students, asking “sinners” to “repent”, Varsity has found.

The group, a branch of the Evangelical missionary church ‘Young Disciples International’, direct messaged university students and staff via Instagram, offering “systematic Bible study” to “deepen your relationship with God for sure”.

The group has told Varsity that its members are told not to message Instagram users who do not already follow the account.

One message to an unwitting undergraduate read: “Hi… How are you? This is Faith from Evangelical Fellowship. I’m reaching out to see if you are interested in the Bible study which will help you to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ.”

“Even though we are sinners, have our weaknesses and shortcomings. When we repent, God still forgives, loves us and embrace us fully,” the DM continued.

“We offer systematic and in-depth Bible study which will deepen your relationship with God for sure,” the message read, adding: “one session goes around 40mins”.

Although it is unclear how the Christian group acquired the social media of members of the University, they described the messages as part of their “outreach activities”.

Young Disciples International told Varsity: “As part of YD United Kingdom’s outreach efforts, our staff in the UK has been actively inviting the students at Cambridge to participate in fellowship and Bible-study opportunities. YD International is not affiliated with the University, but they hope to provide students there with the opportunity to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have a place of belonging.”

“It is our intention and goal to comply with the rules and regulations of each institution and various social media platforms, including that of Meta, in our outreach efforts,” they added.

One undergraduate recipient told Varsity that the DMs were “just out of order” explaining: “It’s just out of order to contact random students calling them sinners, especially when those students might have religious trauma or have a different faith - something you can’t tell just by looking at their social media.”


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They added: “It also just gives Christians an even worse reputation than they already have among students. When other Christian societies do their outreach weeks sure, it’s shoved in your face, but at least you’re not being personally berated in your DMs and told you’re going to hell - or at least if they do you still get a free panini for your troubles.”

Young Disciples International was founded in China in 2002, and “evangelised and conducted bible studies at the major universities throughout China and Asia,” according to its website.

The Christian organisation established chapters in the UK in 2020, seemingly targeting Oxbridge students first.