University towns like Oxford, Cambridge or Palo Alto may not technically be classified as "global cities," but it's hard to deny their importance to global culture, shaping the nation's next generation of thinkers, politicians, and thought leaders. College graduates flock to cities for jobs and become a large part of the center-city population. The questions heard on college campuses are often the same ones heard in places like London, New York, or Hong Kong.
This also makes universities excellent training ground for church planters and evangelists. C. S. Lewis spent most of his life in Oxford, became a Christian there as a result of a friendship with several Christian professors (including J.R.R. Tolkien), and many of his most brilliant insights were sharpened by his academic training.
During the week of February 6-10, the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (OICCU), an umbrella group of Christian ministries at Oxford which has existed for over 130 years, sponsored "This is Jesus," an annual week-long outreach of talks and Q&A sessions on some of the biggest questions students have about Christianity. The speakers were Michael Cain, pastor of Emmanuel Church, Bristol, and Timothy Keller, who together with his wife Kathy and son Michael (currently a college pastor in New York) spent a full week meeting directly with students and wrestling with their questions.
The evening sessions drew up to 600 students and generated significant interest in further discussions about the gospel. In Britain and much of Europe, hostility to evangelical Christianity has been increasing, and unfortunately many churches are in significant decline. As Samuel Chan, the prayer secretary for OICCU, describes student ministry at Oxford: "Many have heard about Jesus: relatively few have said yes to Him. Pray for a time of reaping! We're not content with just having people hear about Jesus, but we desperately want to see more [coming to belief]."