by Caleb Haack
What if every person felt valued and important and could point at a person or a group of people and say, “they care about me,” and mean it? What if people could be honest with each other, grow and learn, experience life together, and feel firm in their identity? What if we each had a group of people surrounding us and building us up like that?
My first three years of college varied widely in terms of highs and lows. I noticed that the high points of my life always come when I feel connected to other people. It is evident that people are built to be relational. That’s how God intended us to be.
But connecting with others is not something you get when sitting in a classroom wondering who the guy next to you is. It doesn’t happen when you’re in chapel or at an event listening to a speaker. No, that happens out there… in the real world.
Although we are provided with opportunities for worship, study and fellowship on campus, I see a need for small groups on campus that can join together in prayer, Bible study or just to relax.
In my experience, small groups that meet regularly and voluntarily to build relationships are foundational in having a positive outlook on life. Small groups can be a huge factor in finding your own identity. These groups encourage one another in the faith and in everyday life to dig deeper into understanding humanity. They experience life together in a unique way.
When I think about small groups, I think about the example of Jesus’ twelve disciples. They weren’t perfect, but they experienced life together and grew in faith and comradery because of it. Look to the disciples as an example of how a small group can bring people together in faith and friendship.
College is a peculiar time of life, but we don’t have to go through it alone. As I consider the need to feel connected, I look to the Scriptures. A passage that stands out to me is Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I challenge students on campus to find a group of people that they can do just that with. Set some time aside to build relationships. It can be as simple as saying to a friend, “Hey, want to come to my dorm room and pray?” The discussions that follow can be amazing. Remember what Jesus says to us in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”