Pineapples? What do pineapples have to do with campus ministry? Everything, really.
That’s what we just spent an entire weekend retreat discussing with our leadership team. Pineapples have long been known as a symbol of hospitality, and we are putting hospitality as the center of our ministry this year.
How can we be even more welcoming to students from every part of campus? How can we make pursuing “strangers” a natural part of our daily life? How did Christ lay down everything to welcome us into his kingdom? His self-sacrifice made it possible for us to be sons & daughters of God, and set an example for us in how to love others.
The leaders have taken more ownership of the chapter than ever before, and we spent multiple hours brainstorming with them about how to truly make our small groups into “communities” – not just a weekly Bible study meeting.
We’re working hard to increase the quality of both parts of small group this year:
- Bible Study: Eric and the Vision Team leaders are running weekly planning sessions for all freshmen small group leaders where they do inductive Bible study together, ensuring that everyone is thoroughly prepared and praying together for their groups. This has already increased the quality of the manuscript studies and provided much-needed fellowship for the new leaders.
- Fellowship: All leaders are committing to attending a small group and helping the SG leaders develop that group as a community. Their focus is on not just inviting people to an event but pursuing them outside of the official meetings, and growing that group until its large enough to divide into 2 separate groups.
Will you pray for our Small Group Communities this year?
- That our leaders would be encouraged & feel supported as they weekly pour themselves out for others; that they would not become burned out.
- That the manuscript Bible Studies would be authentic and deep, showing students how relevant & necessary God’s Word is to their life.
- That our groups would grow into genuine communities where people find trustworthy friends.
This was perhaps the most notable thought that came out of our discussions with the leaders – that our small groups offer something unique, not found outside of Christian community: a safe place where people genuinely care about others, and love them selflessly. Amen! I’d say that’s the truest of true hospitality!
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” 1 Peter 4:8-10