Beatrice Hociota is a sophomore in the business school at Georgetown University. She's spending the summer working with GU Impacts in Nicaragua and will start her first year as a Lifegroup leader and Georgetown's Welcome Week coordinator this Fall. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @hnbeatrice.

Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. How am I supposed to explain what Chi Alpha means to me in a mere 400 words, in a mere blog post? I could go on and on about what it means to me. I could tell you about the first time I was introduced to Chi Alpha at a Protestant Service, days into the confusion of freshman year, where I instantly knew I wouldn’t be alone at college. I could tell you about going to a Life Group where week after week my leaders poured life into me and showed me God’s unconditional love or about my pastor who is quick to listen and serves her students selflessly. I could tell you about Fall Retreat, Winter Retreat, or nearly every Wednesday Open Table where I am increasingly amazed and inspired by how my peers praise God with everything they have. I could tell you about all of that and still not tell you enough. 

...I firmly know I could not have done it without the support of Chi Alpha.

Chi Alpha is more than just an organization, more than just a gathering of people. It is a community, a community of people that supports, challenges, inspires, motivates, and leads each other closer to Christ. This summer, I have understood that better than ever. I have spent the past 10 weeks interning for a social enterprise in Nicaragua and as I am reflecting on my experience, I firmly know I could not have done it without the support of Chi Alpha. In moments where I cut my self short in my ability to communicate and live in a different culture, felt I did not have the skills to finish my assignments, and failed to recognize God’s purpose, it was people from Chi Alpha who lifted my weary sole and reminded me I wasn’t carrying my heavy heart alone. Even from thousands of miles away, I have felt supported beyond anything I could have ever imagined or begin to deserve.

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To me, Georgetown Chi Alpha is a body of believers who continuously strive to uphold 1 Peter 3:8 in the most beautiful way. They are sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble. This is not only evident in how they treat each other, but also in how they care for others on campus and in DC, stand apart from negative societal pressures, and surrender their lives daily. Truth is, I could never accurately articulate everything that Chi Alpha means to me because it means so much. Have you ever walked into a room and felt immediate peace and comfort? I have and do every time I have the privilege of being surrounded by the loving community of Chi Alpha. 


Published on July 20, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/29KsMSZ

 

 

 

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.

2. Mentorship

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

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AuthorOther

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.

 If there's one thing that Chi Alpha has taught me that I'm going to take with me for the rest of my days, no matter where I may end up, it's discipleship.

Growing up in the church, this was something that was not practically taught for me. Sure, I'd heard the stories from scripture how Jesus called the twelve and made them disciples. But, I had no idea what that process looked like or how they had earned that title. I eventually settled into my spirit that they were disciples because Jesus said so.

Early on in my ministry, I modeled what I'd seen on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights: preaching to the crowd and standing in prayer with those who wanted hands laid on them for the altar call. 

What I didn't see happening (because I had a job and couldn't hang out at the church all day, everyday) was the process of what happened to those who had made a decision for Christ: how were they processing sanctification? Did they even know what that word meant? How were they engaging with Jesus throughout the week and not just living from Sunday to Sunday? These were just some of the questions I had.

It was when I decided to quit my job, move 5 hours away from my family, and become a U.S. Missionary with Chi Alpha that I learned what discipleship looked like.

There were two parts to this discipleship model that will stick with me as long as I'll live. If I were  hired on at a church, I would want to ask if these two parts exist. If they didn't, I would negotiate my job description to include the development of these two parts. That is how important these two things are for me.

1. Small Groups

I was first exposed to being in a small group by leading one. As an intern with Chi Alpha, there were minimal job roles I took on—one of them being a Small Group Leader.

I, along with two student leaders, led a group of nine sophomore men. These meetings were held on another day during the week, apart from our weekly large group gatherings. 

As a leader, I was responsible for three things: leading a bible study, being a community facilitator, and providing mentorship in a one-on-one setting with a handful of guys from the group.

The small group night itself taught me to facilitate, not preach, the bible study. For me, this was brand new because I'd never seen this modeled before growing up. I had to be okay with the hanging silence when one of us leaders asked a question and no one made a move to answer. I had to make the room feel less awkward when one of the guys would ask a question that I felt everyone should know who had spent anytime at all in the church.

The small group taught me that life can be an adventure and that we don't have to have our noses in the Bible 24/7 to learn more about Jesus (though, it is a good place to find him). Through community, I saw elements of the guys in my small group that I did not perceive when we were in our bible study. One of the guys was a huge Pokemon fan. Another guy loved to be crafty (he made a ping pong table out of chicken wire and four desks once). Yet another loved to be at the gym and would constantly be marinating chicken to get his protein intake throughout the week.

Community exposed me to these guys in a way that I recognized that God does not make us the same. His creativity allows us to be different in healthy manners that reflect His nature.

Speaking of community, I'll never forget one of the events we did as a small group...

(Part 2 of this post can be found here: http://bit.ly/29KZKsd


Published on July 14, 2016. • Short Link: http://bit.ly/29Gm91o

 

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Ministry is about less.  Somehow in a year I’ve turned ministry into processes, into the execution of my skills, into delightful experiences.  None of that is wrong.  Without my talents and methods I would be useless.  But ministry is not about these additives.  Ministry is about people.

 Written by Nick Holmstedt      Facebook  | |  Twitter

 Written by Nick Holmstedt

   Facebook | | Twitter

It seems so obvious.  I have found this truth multiple times.  Then I bury it beneath the rubble of my profound methodology, my ingenious hypotheses, my selfless preoccupation with myself.  Each time I turn around and so “Oh yeah, I need to be ministering TO others.”  A friend recently reminded me that “We are filled up to be poured out.”  As I have been staring my future down I wonder why I commit to that admittedly daunting path of ministry. 

And then I re-engage in community.  My processes crack against the spirit of my friends and family and the fault-line is real discipleship.  Ministry is the meeting of people and process and God the molten lava that underlies and causes that powerful unity. 

How can we live focusing primarily on people?  How do we avoid wrapping ourselves in methods at the sake of relationship?

I’m no expert, but I’ve found a few mental checks keep me lined up with God’s will here:

1)      Keep people on your mind and be praying for them.  It’s easy to focus on the next task, your objective.  Write down names on post-it notes and every time you see that note, pray for the person.  When you hop on Facebook, choose the top two or three people and say a 5-second prayer.

2)      Keep in touch with people.  It’s easy to forget people are primary when our interactions are limited.  Reach out and let someone share a story.  Do it as often as you can- which might be different for you than me. 

People’s worth will lead you to engagement in and of itself- just give people an opportunity to renew your hearts over and over again.

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AuthorBlane Young