Christians forget a lot of people.
Despite the abundance of churches in Waco, students can easily get lost and forgotten by the Christian community. As a sophomore at Baylor University, I look back on my freshman year and remember being introduced to many different communities: Greek organizations, clubs, academic honor societies, and hundreds of church small groups.
I remember being overwhelmed by the amount of opportunity, and equally overwhelmed by how hard it was for me to get involved. I found that most didn’t fit what I was looking for: a group of Christians determined to find God on campus, to create deep friendships based on God’s foundation, and honest mentors and leaders to guide the group.
As a sophomore, I decided to try to change that, starting with my own community, the Honors College. I pitched the idea to my good friend, Nathan (a member of the activities council in the Honors Residential College). He was immediately on board and we started planning. We wanted to focus on honesty, calling the group “Open Book” to encourage the students and ourselves to be open and honest with each other.
Trusting God with our Missional Communities
Open Book launched on a Thursday night. We invited freshmen via Facebook and text to join us for pizza at a local joint for fellowship, faith, and food. We invited them to find mentors and friends in a Christian environment, to be honest with themselves and each other, and to have fun with us. We decided to meet in front of Alexander (an honors dorm on campus), and hoped that we would have at least a few people interested.
I think we often forget to trust God with our missional communities’ successes and failures. One of Satan’s most effective weapons is self-doubt. Before Open Book had even begun, I found myself panicking about “What if no one comes?” and “This was so stupid . . . Why would God want me, of all people, to lead students?”
As I thought about this, I realized that we don’t need to doubt ourselves because God works through that and uses us exactly as we are to encourage and bolster each other. We don’t need to be perfect, because God is and He can easily work through our imperfections to do His will.
Surprised: Open Book’s First Meeting
When I pulled up in front of Alexander, over thirty people stood in front of the dorm. I couldn’t believe they were all there for Open Book, so I sat in my car uncertainly for a couple minutes, trying to scope out the few who I would be meeting with. Finally, I went up the steps slowly and asked to the general group milling around, “Who’s here for Open Book?” Everyone slowly raised their hands. As Nathan came out the front door of the dorm, he simply laughed, and said, “God is good.”
I met so many amazing people that night, and I realized that so many students are looking for community. When we intentionally engage our own community and provide Christ-centered leaders, even simple conversation about movies and food can become a way for God to work.
We don’t need to worry if we’re good enough, or strong enough, or the right people – God can make anyone the perfect person to lead if we simply place the group in His hands and trust Him with the outcome.
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship