Miles Costello and Globalscope: ‘Filling in the gap for students who are far from God!’
Miles Costello found a place of healing at Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF) during a difficult time in his life as a student at Georgia Tech University. The experience led him to a career in campus ministry — after earning his bachelor’s degree in business and finance and a Master of Divinity at Emmanuel Christian Seminary — so that he could help provide that space for international students.
In the U.S. for a furlough, Miles, a veteran campus minister who has served in Nottingham, England, since 2016, will serve as missionary in residence at Milligan College for the fall semester. He visited the CMF home office recently and shared some of his experiences and insights.
Why did you choose to serve with CMF in England?
Miles: After graduation from Georgia Tech, I interned at CCF for a year and enjoyed it. I considered opening a similar campus ministry in the U.S., but that didn’t work out. Then people I respected told me that they thought I’d be a good fit for the Globalscope Nottingham team. I met with (team leader) Christine Barber and she agreed. It felt like the right fit, and in a very quick turnaround I made the decision to serve with Canvas.
What are your special skills in the ministry?
Miles: I feel I’m best at small groups and one-on-one relationships. I can read emotions and situations well and understand how people are processing ideas. I’m also the person who frequently organizes and leads big-picture events, like Weekend Away and Euroscope.
What accomplishments are you most proud of this term?
Miles: Around Easter 2020, about four weeks into Covid, we had a Zoom talk on the death and resurrection of Jesus. And a student who’s been with us about three years, said, “I believe that’s true!” Having a long-term student start the journey to become a Christian really gave us some wind in our sails!
How did the pandemic affect your ministry?
Miles: We did the best we could. There definitely was Zoom fatigue, but we retained almost everyone who was already in our community pre-Covid. But outreach was difficult. We had to shift our focus to a bigger picture mindset. For example, one week we gave away 150 meals. We don’t know if they’ll remember us next term, but some of them may come back.
You will return to England after Christmas. What are you looking forward to?
Miles: Our team is in transition with staff members coming and going. For example, Claire, a former student, is now an intern with Canvas. I’m excited to see what the team will look like in January.
What do you want folks to know about campus ministry?
Miles: Christianity in England is seen as a relic from their grandparents’ day. Churches are for weddings and funerals. Students have assumptions, but no first-hand knowledge of Christianity. We try to meet students where they’re at, no matter how far away they are from God.
In England, the organization Christian Union does a good job of connecting with university students who grew up in church. We are there for the others, and we use games, free food, and all kinds of activities to attract these students.
We try to fill in the gap for students who don’t have experience — or bad experiences — with Church.
Top photo: Miles Costello poses with the current Canvas Nottingham team shortly after the arrival of new teammates this spring. In front from left: Emma Wall and Christine Barber. In back from left: David Spear, Miles, and Matt Hawkins.