Eliezer Roque Cisneros
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
I’m personally a fan of the small groups campus movement, and a certain aspect could define whether small groups will flourish into a definitive aspect of Union's spiritual life or burn out like a passing fad.
Said aspect is trained leadership.
Small groups need trained leadership. How many small group leaders know how to create an engaging, effective Bible study plan? How many of the leaders feel competent in handling a discussion that derailed off topic while still maintaining community?
When speaking with Colin King, junior theology major and men's ministries director, he commented on the lack of direction within Campus Ministries’ handling of small groups. "I wish there was more of an emphasis on training people to give effective Bible studies,” he said. "I feel like a lot of our Bible studies have little direction."
Take note—Colin wasn't bashing on anyone's Bible study group when he shared his opinion. He was bringing attention to reality: many small group leaders threw themselves into the water with little more than floaties.
I personally feel this was a smart move on Campus Ministries’ part, because it tested the idea of successful student-led programming without deliberate supervision. It showed how small group ministry can function as a self-sustaining opportunity for students to worship and study together.
However, the initial force propelling small groups was the novelty of a grassroots spiritual experience. As the semester draws to a close, the sheen and luster fade and the small groups will need unifying guidance in order to exist as an attractive option next semester.
"It’s interesting to see people step up to do ministry through Bible study and small groups,” said King. He continued, “But I think it would be more appreciated if they were trained on giving effective Bible studies to different people at different places, not just at Union but in our communities."
Small groups have a uniqueness I believe could revitalize the “Union family” mentality. You can go to a Bible study anywhere on campus. You know the small experience you’re about to have is a part of a larger unified purpose and at the same time a meaningful, personal encounter with the word of God. That is the spirit that brings religion to life. It makes any encounter with the Bible more than just words on paper.
If you haven't been to a small group or Bible study this semester, I say go.
Go, be part of a small discussion with peers who see the world at your level. It's a unique experience you won't find at church. There’s something special about getting to hear opinions and perspectives on an ongoing dialogue revolving around the Bible.
Eliezer Roque Cisneros is a junior theology major.