Small Groups Offer Opportunities for Students to Get Involved
Missouri Baptist University’s numerous Bible studies enable students to connect with one another while also connecting to God’s word.
By: RICKIE ROSS
What’s in a name? Can Missouri Baptist University really be that different from any other college?
Does going to a Christian school mean anything when the college level of education is reached?
Faculty and students at MBU like to think it does have meaning.
MBU prides itself in a Christian education, which includes a thriving student life, and one way students can get involved with the school is through small groups.
The campus hosts four men’s small groups and three women’s, ranging in times, places and topics, so there is likely a fit for anyone looking to join one.
The leaders of these groups are usually upper-classmen. They must be at least sophomores and willing to teach fellow students many things about the Bible and life in general.
The topics of these groups vary, ranging from general aspects of Christianity to in-depth studies of the Bible.
The group studies are available for anyone and are used by many students as a way to get to know more people and learn about God.
The groups’ atmosphere is welcoming — only about six or seven people on average attend — and the primary concern is helping every student.
“They all accepted that no one was perfect,” said freshman Lindsey Hoyer. “It wasn’t judgmental. We were just able to progress slowly and talk about the Bible without feeling rushed.”
Whether students’ faith is experienced or just beginning, the small groups can be used to help in their walk with the Lord, and they truly do help many students.
Freshman Damani Hanks said he likes how interactive the Bible study has been.
“We didn’t just talk about the Scriptures. We applied the Scriptures to everyday life,” said Hanks.
That is another main purpose of the groups, to equip students to face the trials of life with a plan and to send them out to be witnesses for the Lord.
Students are growing closer to each other and as a result they are growing closer to God together.
“I really enjoy small groups because it’s a great way to grow in Christ with fellow believers and join in community with others. It’s a great way to meet others who also have a passion for Christ,” said freshman communication student Kayla Glyshaw.
Because of their small size, the groups can be personal and intimate and can offer specific insight into each person’s life.
They can give students information that could not be received anywhere else or in any other setting.
The small groups contain “a good sense of community on a deeper level and having a good group of friends that you can talk about theology and the Bible with,” said former small group leader Josh Shands.
For many of the students involved, the small groups bring fellowship that cannot be experienced anywhere else.
“I like the small community it forms,” said freshman music major Garrett Grasshoff, “how we’re getting more into context and reading background.”
The small groups, however, would not exist without students who wanted to lead and spread their knowledge to underclassmen. Every leader is a professing Christian and is chosen on a volunteer basis.
In essence, the leaders want to be there and get involved just as much as the other students do.
“I feel like she [the group leader] has insight in my life and backs it up with Biblical truths,” said junior communication student Gynis Sekarski.
Most of the leaders started in small groups as freshmen before actually becoming leaders
They love what it brought them and want to give that, and much more, to other students who are willing to learn.
“The part that I enjoy the most about it is being able to pass on what I’ve learned and really being able to disciple,” said senior ministry leader Cliff Brammeier.
The leaders are an important part of the groups and they help students with many aspects of life, often serving as examples to those in their groups.
“I like the girls that come to my small group because they’re diverse. They all come with different struggles and I’m glad that I can help in any way that I can,” said Sekarski.
An important factor to each of the small groups is that both the leaders and the other students involved want to be there and expect to learn about the Lord with others so that they can increase their faith and be witnesses wherever they go.
The leaders teach their students, but they also learn from them.
The groups are a way for people to share their lives with each other and help each other through all aspects of the journey of life, the good and the bad.
“Overall, it has been a blessing and helped keep me accountable,” said Glyshaw.
Students involved in the campus small groups realize that MBU is more than just a college. They realize it is also a church, a home and a place of fellowship where they can express themselves freely and worship God with gladness.
So, what’s in a name?
Does the name of a college, or any name for that matter, mean anything at all?
Some may say that it does not. Some might even say that every college is the same and every person is generally the same.
Many students at MBU, however, would say otherwise. To many of them, the name is very meaningful.
It represents more than just another school; it represents Jesus Christ. Therefore, the simple three-word name, Missouri Baptist University, means everything to them.