GUEST POST From time to time, we have special guests whose voices we totally love sharing with you. This is a post from Seth Collins, he is a bearded man with a heart of gold who currently serves on staff at Yale Chi Alpha. HIs wonderful wife Brooke, used to live in DC and work with Chi Alpha, so even as we root her on, we miss her deeply! You can follow him on Twitter and Medium.
Find Part 1 here: http://bit.ly/29Gm91o
It was late November and around 11pm on a Friday night. I was getting ready for bed after an exhausting week of study and ministry. Scrolling through Facebook to get one last glimpse of what my Facebook friends were up to, I received a group message notification from my small group. One of the guys decided that it would be a terrific idea to go hiking up a mountain to catch a meteor shower...
At 11pm. In November.
Being an introvert, my initial reaction was to say, "You guys have fun; I'm calling it a night." But, then I recognized that it would be my co-leader's birthday, and I didn't want to be that guy who bailed out when everyone else didn't.
So, I put my warm clothes on and got in the car to go on this nocturnal adventure. Even though the hike to the top was just over a mile, it was much harder to get there because 1.) it was dark and we had to use our phones to see where we were putting our feet, and 2.) there was ice on the rocks that we would be walking across.
What was I getting myself into?
Several minutes later, we're at the top and the wind was just ripping through us. It was so cold. We all clung to the rocks as best we could, trying to find some kind of shielding from the wind. At first, I thought to myself, this is crazy; I could be home right now in my warm bed.
But then I looked up and saw the stars.
The night firmament was incredible. I'd never seen so many stars in my life!
We started counting how many shooting stars we saw as we watched them race across the night sky. I think we lost count at around 15.
Before we made the trek back down to warmth and security, a couple of the guys from the group had hiked up the mountain with provisions: one guy had a grill strapped to his back. Another had a bag of charcoal and a dozen eggs. They were on a mission to scramble some eggs and enjoy the co-leader's birthday before heading back down!
We ate, traveled back down, and drove home.
I could have missed all of that if I'd chose to stay at home. I could've missed the memory, the laughs, the frozen chatter, the blanket of stars, and the eggs! But I went because God sometimes reveals His character and nature in such a way that reading a textbook can't fully convey. You have to get out and engage people! Engage the world around! The disciples were role models in such endeavors and, because of their companionship with Jesus and their actions, they helped change the world we live in.
The third aspect of being a small group leader is actually my second point.
I don't know if I can say enough about one-on-one discipleship (or sometimes referred to as mentorship). I love it. If there were one aspect of ministry that I could do for the rest of my days, it would be this.
Through mentorship, I learned how to process life with students on an individual basis. The space and meeting would create an atmosphere that would allow them to ask more personal questions that they might not feel comfortable with asking in a small group setting.
They would often ask questions about my life or how I handled a certain situation. This would create inner-reflection on my part and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the graces that I'd forgotten about or didn't appreciate as much. A perk for being in a mentoring relationship!
Again, being an introvert, it's tough to engage a crowd, but a one-on-one setting is entirely different. Sure, there's always small talk to get through, but when you get to the deep stuff, then it gets exciting!
Mentorship created a deeper need to be vulnerable with the young men I was meeting with. By modeling vulnerability, I allowed the student to be as vulnerable as I was allowing myself to go. I couldn't ask them to do something that I wasn't willing to do myself. (Note: you should have wisdom in what you're willing to share. No need to air all your dirty laundry, but having something on the clothesline helps build rapport with your mentoring relationship.)
Mentorship also created deeper friendships. Five years later, I'm still good friends with the co-leaders I led my first small group with. I'm still friends with some of those guys that were in the group. I've been in one of their weddings, I've had a weekly home when I served as Interim Director for VCU Chi Alpha from one of them, and nearly all of them have been so impacted by my involvement with Chi Alpha that they have supported me financially.
You can go down the street and ask someone else what discipleship means to them and they could give you a totally different answer than what I just did. But, for me, small groups and mentorship are the key elements of building a discipleship culture: a culture that invites both insiders and outsiders to engage in the God-man, Jesus Christ, and to follow His teachings and lifestyle.
Published on July 14, 2016. • Short Link: http://bit.ly/29KZKsd