You’ve been invited. You’ve been reminded. The moment of decision is coming. Will you go to small group Bible study this week? When I was first invited to go to small group in my residence hall, my first instinct was to kindly reply “yeah maybe if I have time”, but to avoid it like the plague. I had never been a part of anything quite like a small group Bible study, even though church attendance on Sundays was not something foreign to me.
When I was first invited, small group Bible study sounded like a place where churchy, religious people went to talk about things I didn’t really care about. I think I must have imagined a bunch of students that I thought were really lame and didn’t have anything better to do than to hole themselves up in their dorm room with their Bibles all week, only to come out once a week to test each other on their Bible knowledge.
If you hesitate to show up to small group in your residence hall, did you know that you’re not the exception but actually the norm? As I look back, there were a couple questions going on inside of me that were underneath my hesitation.
WILL I FEEL STUPID?
I knew I didn’t know that much about the Bible. If I’m honest, this made feel a bit insecure. It was easy to assume that the other students showing up basically had the entire Bible memorized. I think I imagined being told to read from some random book of the Bible I had never heard of, and while scrambling to turn to the right page everybody would wait on me and stare with disdain.
The leaders of your small group do not assume that you are a Bible wiz. Here’s a little secret… the leaders are learning about the Bible themselves. There are often people whom attend our small groups that are unfamiliar with the Bible altogether, and are not even sure what they believe about God. There are no pop quizzes. One of the main purposes is to help any student, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, to learn more about what the Bible actually says and how it might be relevant to your life in college. My leaders were gracious to explain where to go in the Bible when they introduced a book I was not familiar with. No one expected me to have any answers. As we actually sat and read and discussed, what I found was that the Bible was far more fascinating and relevant than I had ever realized.
WILL I FEEL AWKWARD?
I had gotten to know my roommate and some other students on my floor. I had some high school friends around campus in various residence halls. It seemed easier to stick with the relationships I was already comfortable with. I had a stereotype in my mind that I wouldn’t really want to be good friends with the type of student (see above) that might be members of a small group Bible study. And what if my friends asked me where I was going or saw me with them?!
If I’m honest a big part of me wondered if I would fit in, as much as I wanted to tell myself that “religious” people were not that cool anyway (and that I didn’t really want to fit in with these people). There is always a potential to feel awkward when you meet up with people you’ve barely or never met, to do something you’re not sure how you feel about. Very few people approach these situations with complete confidence (actually the ones that seem confident are sometimes putting on a front to hide their insecurity). Awkward is normal.
I’m going to be honest with you. When I first showed up to small group Bible study I did feel awkward. Soon I realized that I didn’t have to feel that way. I gave it a shot and found people that accepted me in some ways that I had never experienced before. It didn’t take long to begin to feel like the pressure was off, that I didn’t have to prove myself to people in my small group. I didn’t have to be the most fun, the most humorous, the most witty, the most drunk, etc. I was not used to feeling that way on my residence hall floor or at the parties on the weekends. Not only that, I found some students I actually connected with, students that I was glad to have as friends.
WILL I GIVE IT A SHOT?
Almost everybody can find a reason not to go to small group Bible study. I am one of many people that discovered that a small group Bible study in college was something that became a cornerstone of my college experience. It was not just a trivial club to tinker around with. By God’s grace, small group had become a lifeblood. Are you on the fence about small group? From someone who has been there, would you give it a shot? Not just once or twice, but for a while? Like me you may find that it is more than worth it.