What is a LifeGroup?
A LifeGroup is a small group of friends—students who have something in common and want to study the Bible. Together they help each other grow in that relationship with God. There are currently over 80 LifeGroups on campus. There are so many different groups. There is a rock climbing group that does devotions and goes rock climbing—it’s very personal to each student leader.
How do I know which one to join?
At the beginning of this year we had GroupLink. In GroupLink we have all these round coffee tables in the gyms with all these student leaders. They give a little elevator pitch of why you should join their LifeGroup. Some of the girls set up their table with little lights, the book they are going to read, or some guys will put up a basketball.
Can I join more than one LifeGroup?
You could... but I recommend focusing on one. Maybe joining two in the beginning but choosing one that you can consistently go to. If a group isn’t a good fit, you can change! You’re not stuck in one group.
How do you find a new group after GroupLink?
There are several ways you can find a new group. One of the ways is going to Pastor Anna’s office. She has a database of the different groups that students have on this campus. Or you could talk to the LifeGroup student directors or any of the LifeGroup coaches. Even if it’s after GroupLink, someone can still join. They just have to be more proactive. You can also ask your friends.
Do I have to go every week?
No, you do not, LifeGroups is purely volunteer. But like with anything, the more you go, the more you grow. Coming in as a freshman, I was in two LifeGroups. The group I went to every week, I was getting to know them more as friends. We would go on random adventures like hiking, but the other group that I only went to every other week, I didn’t know them as well.
Who can be a leader? Can freshmen lead groups?
Anyone can be a leader, including freshmen. The one requirement is to be a Christian, recognizing God as your Savior and having a relationship with Him. You also sign a contract agreeing to commit for a whole semester and to uphold the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The leaders also go through a training. We just meet with them and the LifeGroup coaches, going through the basics of leading a small group and how to be a successful LifeGroup. That’s usually a two- to three-hour training on a Sabbath with a lunch afterwards.
Tell us about your experience with LifeGroup
When I first arrived at Southern, I was coming all the way from California. So I probably knew a total of three people including my brother. I feel like, through LifeGroups, that is how my friend group was formed. That’s how I found my niche, the people I like to hang out with.
My first semester I signed up for two groups. In the one I liked the best, the co-leader was a flake who never showed up. I asked the leader towards the end of the semester, “Hey, who’s going to be your next co-leader?” And he said, “Oh, you are.” Surprise, surprise. Okay, cool! In the second semester of my freshman year, we started the LifeGroup. He brought his friends, I brought my friends, and through that experience, my solid friend group was formed.
I think if anything, LifeGroup has really taught me to not do life alone. Jesus didn’t just wander around trying to have that connection to God by himself. He met with his disciples, which was a small group, and out of that Christianity spread. Meeting up with my friends each week, whether it’s through LifeGroup or just on our own, is an intentional way to journey with God and with like-minded people. Some of my best memories came through LifeGroups: friends meeting up with food, talking about God, being transparent, and knowing you are not alone. It’s really a family atmosphere. At the heart of it all is community.
Is it true that lots of people find their boyfriend/girlfriend in LifeGroups?
It’s a possibility. Funny story. I was watching a short clip of a wedding in the Chattanooga area, and the pastor was talking to the bride and groom up front and he said, “So you guys met through LifeGroups” at Southern, right? And they both started laughing and said yeah! A mutual friend invited the girl, they got to know each other, started to hang out, and two years later they got married. It’s a great place to meet friends and spiritual people.
Any last words of wisdom?
Coming in to college, you’re not too sure where you fit in. And I think that LifeGroups are so essential to a college experience because when you’re transitioning into a new environment, it can be hard to figure out the big questions: is this the right friend group? Am I in the right major? And through a LifeGroup you can connect with sophomores and juniors who have gone through that before. I was talking to a freshman who was saying, “Oh, it’s the first couple of months at Southern, I don’t know where I fit in.” I really recommend joining a LifeGroup to find like-minded people and just be friends. To find where you fit in at Southern.
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