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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo

Small groups create opportunities for spiritual growth in dorms

Student leaders foster small group spaces

Spiritual growth has always been a cornerstone of Taylor, but between academic deadlines and extracurricular overcommitment, finding the time to grow can be challenging.

Hoping to ease that challenge, a number of students have risen to the occasion, creating small groups within their halls or wings. 

One such group, sophomore Missy Walcott’s art small group on First South English Hall, focuses on a medium to lead its participants in worship. 

Walcott said she chose to make her own curriculum for the group, which plans to meet weekly for the remainder of the school year. Inspired by an art course she is taking for her elementary education major, Walcott combined the practices she has seen in-class with the Scripture engagement methods taught to her through the foundational core.

“I’m not really sure what that [the small group] will look like yet,” Walcott said. “I really hope that we have good conversations that we can remember. It would also be cool if we all made some art that we could hang in our room. It's like a reminder of what we talked about.”

Reminders like these are personal for Walcott. She has been to similar events for her wing church service, where her group looked at representations of Christ in film and art. 

It also gave her the practice and trust that God will use her work and her desire for discipleship, even when planning goes awry.

“I have a lot of confidence that the Lord will just … tell me what to do every time,” Walcott said. “I think also, it's always good to encourage people in smaller settings to like, ‘Hey, I think you should apply for DA (Discipleship Assistant) next year. I think that you'd be really great to lead your own small group.’”

Not every small group is based on location, however. Luke Nelson and Aubree Anderson’s Healthy Relationship small group, though based mainly in Gerig Hall, welcomes students from Breuninger Hall and even one student from off campus as well.

Their main goal is to provide a safe place for couples at Taylor to grow in their relationship with God, as well as with each other. In many ways, they hope it will become a service not just for themselves, but for everyone in their group.

“We wanted to do something as a couple to serve others,” Nelson said. “The problem for the couples, too, [is] needing the space to be away or just needing to be seen.”

Leading a small group is nothing new to Nelson or Anderson. Nelson, now a junior graphic design major, led a group in high school, while Anderson led a small group as a discipleship assistant on 3G (the third floor in Gerig) last year. 

Planning each session as a couple, however, has presented its own wins and challenges. Nelson, more of a free-spirit, is balanced by Anderson’s planning nature. The regular hecticness of a student schedule has made planning for small group a struggle as well. Yet Nelson and Anderson have always found time to meet and pray together before each session.

This semester, the group is hoping to focus on love, lust and marriage. 

“Marriage is something we definitely need to talk about, especially with the dangers because a lot of people will believe [if] they get married all things [will be] so good,” Anderson said. “And it's like, no, a lot of Taylor couples do actually end up getting divorced.”

Like Walcott, Anderson and Nelson’s desire to lead spills over from a passion for discipleship. Despite the time struggles and commitments, students continue to choose community over their chaos, with a new semester of small groups well underway.