Three years ago, I turned to my roommate Alli and announced that I felt like God wanted me to start a Bible study. The only problem was I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Alli looked over at me with a sly smile. “Here’s what we’re doing. You and I are going to lead a Bible study together, we are going to target it towards single girls, and we are going to talk through our problems.” (At the time, the both of us were struggling a lot with being single. When you’re interested in dating good, Christian guys, Morris is not the place to be.)
That, friends, is how I became a small group leader.
That first year, we were known as the Single Ladies Bible Study. We read the book When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Although we had some good conversations, I really don’t recommend the book. A lot of the content is really simplistic and cheesy.
Every year, the Bible study has changed significantly. After year one, we dropped the “Single”, lost Alli to graduation, and our numbers dropped significantly. I was abroad for half the year and, when I came back, the once bustling group was down to three or four core members. We had lots of great talks, though, and really got to know each other.
This year, I co-lead with my friend Jourdan and the group changed entirely. Last fall, when we met to discuss what the study would look like, we had no idea how many people would actually show up. The core group returned and, to our surprise, so did a boatload of new faces. It really was a wonderful year. For the first time, it really felt like a community. The variety of the group still amazes me–we had freshman to seniors, newspaper lit nerds to athletes, biology to Spanish majors. Everyone was so different! But we all got along and learned so much from each other.
As leaders, Jourdan and I were pushed and stretched in ways we hadn’t expected. Before we knew it, we were each meeting one-on-one with several of the girls, mentoring and encouraging them. We planned Girls Nights once a month and came up with our own lessons every week. Planning lessons was a big challenge, but also an incredible opportunity.
Last week was our final meeting. The girls all surprised me with a party celebrating my graduation. Everyone brought treats, one girl made chicken tacos, and Jourdan made a cake. Their parting gift to me was a little plastic box covered in quotes. Inside, each girl had written out encouragement notes and shared their favorite Bible verses. It’s something for me to take with as I move into the future. Although I was pretty brain-dead the whole time (on account of the library staff party and English major picnic being the same night), their thoughtfulness really means the world to me.
Although it will continue to meet next year, I’m really sad to see it go. Being a small group leader has been one of my favorite parts of college. I’ve learned so much about myself and what it means to be a leader and have gotten to know so many wonderful people. Serving and loving people is hard, but it’s one of the greatest blessings life has to offer.