Matthew 5:16 reads, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” God calls us to be a light to the world. How do we accomplish this hefty task? There are many ways in which Greenville University students have the opportunity to be a light. Through worship, academia, and service, students at GU are challenged to take on the mission of being a light.
Worshiping our heavenly Father is highly valued here at GU. It says in the Bible that where two or more gather in His name, He is there. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 9:30, GU students gather in Whitlock Chapel to worship, listen, and pray as one body of believers. The gatherings are led by a Pursuit worship team of students and then a speaker enlightens the audience with word and advice. On Fridays, student can take part in a new and exciting addition to the faith formation programs at GU. Students are invited to different small groups led by the faculty and staff. With nearly 15 different groups, it will be nearly impossible for a student to not find a group to connect with.
Where did this idea of small groups come from? Well, Lori Gaffner and President Ivan Filby came up with it. Gaffner explains, “The idea came to both President Filby and myself. We were meeting together, talking about ways to help our students grow spiritually, and I mentioned that small groups were very important in the area of spiritual formation — people want to feel they are known and cared for, have the freedom to ask questions, and grow deeper in their faith. Small groups are one of the best ways to accomplish this.” Last fall, Alpha was held during the chapel time slot on Friday’s, so last semester and this year small groups replaced the same time slot. However, some small groups are held at other more accommodating times. Kareem Watts and Ross Baker are also part of the “The Small Group Initiative.” Gaffer also adds, “It’s a pilot program for now, but one that we hope will continue and expand.” Small groups are just another spiritual life development opportunity that GU offers.
Aside from Chapel and small groups, there are many other faith formation events for students. For example, the Greenville Student Government Association plans an Urban Plunge each semester. This short trip to St. Louis or Chicago allows students to serve in an area close to their home away from home. Last semester, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Urban Plunge in St. Louis. This experience opened my eyes to the needs of communities just down the street. While being a light could mean traveling outside the country, it is also serving those right next to you. Thankfully, Greenville offers both. To learn more about serving abroad, click here. For more details about Urban Plunge, visit this page.
A piece of the vision of GU is fulfilled by offering a transformational Christ-centered educational experience that empowers, enriches, and ensures because we believe that God created each of our students to uniquely shape the world! Our students are striving to be lights in the darkness. Updating options to allow them to fulfill that calling rejuvenates the spirit of faith enrichment. With the extension of small groups, we hope to do just that; enrich the faith of students!