B-Less is an emerging ministry focused on restoring the gospel to the centre of the conversation in the secular university context. B-less is directed by Neil Martin.
Oxford University is consistently rated as one of the top educational institutions in the world. Only the very best students are admitted and the learning experience is intense. The instructional model is based on one-to-one contact, facilitating stretching interactions with some of the best-known professors in each subject area. Despite its Christian history, however, the University today is a profoundly secular environment. Non-Christian students assume that atheism is unquestionably obvious. Many are surprised to find believers among their classmates at all.
There are many gospel-focused churches in Oxford and a small but bold group of undergraduate believers meets under the aegis of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF – with whom Neil serves as a non-paid Associate Staff Worker). Christian ministries that exist outside the infrastructure of the University, however, struggle to reach students who are far more focused on the conversations taking place in their common-rooms and lecture theatres than they are on external voices.
As members of the University community, graduate students have a unique permission to enter into these conversations. But most are racing to complete their programs within time and budget constraints, and have little time to look outward to opportunities for undergraduate ministry.
By opening the door to both part-time doctoral studies and to a home located right in the heart of the city, God has not only given Neil a unique opportunity to listen to and serve the student community in Oxford, but also the permission and the bandwidth to engage them in substantial conversations about the gospel. Through academic research, classroom teaching, pastoral care, small group interaction with students of theology and other disciplines, evangelistic table-discussion events, and larger-scale opportunities for public gospel proclamation, the Martins have the chance to meet, reach, and affect the lives of a whole generation of future influencers with the good news of Jesus Christ.