Changed lives are the ultimate indicator of effectiveness in collegiate ministry. We all know the incredible blessing of watching a student come to faith, grow spiritually, and bring their friends to Christ. I have learned that small groups are a strategic tool that God often uses to impact both Christian students, and those who are not believers. With this in mind, I am always looking for ways to tweak and strengthen the small group ministry in our BSM. Below I will share some of the ways that we use small groups on our campus. I hope that some of the ideas shared may prove helpful in your work with students.
Our Thursday evening ministry is devoted to small group Bible study. After beginning the evening with corporate worship, we break up in small groups. Some of the groups meet in our building, while others meet in dorms or other on campus locations. We offer:
- Groups for freshmen (led by upperclassmen)
- Groups for older students (led by our staff and student leaders)
- Groups for International students (led by students).
These groups not only have a clear focus on interactive Bible study, but also have a strong relational element. Our freshman group leaders are especially committed to nurturing a family feel within their groups. We have a retreat each semester for our small groups.
Experience has taught us that the selection, training, and on-going support of our leaders are all key elements in developing healthy small groups. We use a thorough interview process to select small group leaders. During the school year, we meet weekly with all of our small group leaders and go through the week’s Bible study in advance. We provide study resources, training, encouragement, and accountability for students who commit to lead. We have also learned the importance of providing evangelism training for our leaders. This helps encourage our students to involve lost friends in their small groups.
Our BSM also offers other weekly small group Bible studies for International students. We train American students to lead these introductory studies. Most of our International students are not yet believers. They are, however, often curious about the Bible and will stay after English classes for Bible study. It is an amazing experience to read the Bible with students who have never had opportunity to encounter God’s Word!
Thanks to our guest blogger Joel Bratcher, director at Texas A&M Baptist Student Ministry!