Life Leaders Open Doors for Real Communication
By Zane Ewton
“The front lines of ministry begin with the Life Groups,” says GCU Global Outreach Director Jacob Page.
Life Groups gather students into a community and open opportunities for students to engage with one another about God and life.
“If you’re looking for friendships that run deeper than the surface, this is a great way to start that,” says GCU Student Ministries Coordinator Danielle Rinnier. “If you want a more meaningful college experience, you can come and meet people who care and want to do important things.”
Junior Christian studies major Chris Cunningham is a new life leader and is encouraged by the number of people on campus wanting to get involved in Life Groups. His group meets in Canyon Hall.
Senior psychology major Kristi Girdley is in her second year as a life leader for the North Rim Apartments. She says her excitement for the Scriptures and a heart for women’s ministry inspired her to connect with other students.
“Life Groups are a place of freedom,” she says. “They are a place of positive energy and an escape from everyday stresses and into the joy of Scripture and community.”
Her life group meets on Mondays in her apartment. The group determines the topics for the semester and the shape of study it wants.
“I have my house open and help lead the discussions,” she says. “But the group decides where the Bible study and discussions go.”
Student Ministry fuels many of the programs on campus, including Canyon Kids, Make a Difference Day, Global Outreach efforts and a number of men’s and women’s breakout events.
More than events, the philosophy of student ministry efforts is to build relationships. A number of “guys only” or “girls only” opportunities offer a unique chance to relate with a room of people who know what you are going through.
“I want the young men on campus to talk about what it really means to be a man,” Cunningham says. “It’s not about having sex, who the best athlete is or who can throw a punch. Let’s talk about what it really means to be a man of God.”
For Girdley, the women’s ministry events are an opportunity to relate to other women who are having similar struggles and insecurities.
“We want to create opportunities for students to relax and discuss issues honestly,” Page says. “Guys can talk about spiritual challenges at a deeper level that won’t be embarrassing. Men and women build relationships in different ways.”
“I don’t think men or women realize the importance of developing relationships with each other,” Rinnier says.
Both Cunningham and Girdley agree that the Life Groups, more than anything else, are an excellent way to meet people on campus you can count on.
“This is a great way to connect with community and challenge your belief system,” Cunningham says. “Part of college is understanding what you believe in and being able to understand other people’s views on life and God as well.”
Contact Zane Ewton at 602.639.7086 or [email protected].