How Joining a Core Group Changed My Life (Seriously)
I joined my first Core Group when I was a sophomore in college. I remember being scared – were they going to make me pray out loud? What if I can’t find the book of the Bible they ask me to open up to? Do I have to share everything about my life with them?
I remember these feelings most poignantly this time of the year, when we offer Core Group sign-ups to college students at the Inn. As I get to meet with some of the women signing up, I’m reminded what I risk it was when I first put my name down on the Core Group list; I’m also reminded how I was certain it was all at once exactly what I needed to do and something I was terrified to do.
What gets me excited, though, is remembering the community I found in Core Groups. I was blessed by a sophomore group that gave me the freedom to pray in silence until I was comfortable enough to pray out loud with them. I was blessed by a group of women and a leader who – though they had mostly grown up in the church – would unwearyingly explain things to me I didn’t understand (and help me find the book of Isaiah when I didn’t know where to start looking). Most importantly, they let me be myself.
I actually had a couple of different groups during my 4(+) years at the UW. Both groups became places where I could let down any guards and share how I was really doing, what I was struggling with, what my questions were about God, or what frustrated me about the church. We are reminded so often in scripture of our need for community. It’s right at the very beginning of the creation story: “”It is not good for the man to be alone.” We were created to be in community. I quickly learned that my belief that faith is my private business held no water. My faith was not private at all. Personal, yes; private, no.
Not only did Core Group offer peers to grow alongside, it provided leaders to emulate, who would challenge us. Both of my leaders were valuable mentors throughout my time in college.
Core Group is the place I learned how to both challenge my faith and share my faith. I am certain that I wouldn’t have grown as much by simply going to the Inn and talking with friends when I had a chance, even though I learned a lot from the sermons and was often challenged in conversations with friends. Without the set-aside time to be intentional about learning, growing, sharing, and walking alongside others in the faith journey, I would not be the same person.
That’s why this time of year is so full of excitement and hope for me. As I see men & women come into the office to meet with staff about Core Groups, I know a lot of them are taking a big risk. But I also know from experience that the risk can change their lives.
Written by Becky R.