By Hannah Stafford, Staff Writer

Every semester, the office of Campus Ministries works to encourage and strengthen students in their walk with God. One way this is accomplished is through various small group Bible studies on campus. Assistant Director of Campus Ministries and Assistant Chaplain Jeannie Banter, coordinates the small groups. She described them as “an intentional way for people to get plugged-in and explore their faith through certain topics and to do it in community.”

Most of the small groups last six to eight weeks, and they begin the week of Feb. 1. “Some are co-ed, some are women-only and some are men-only,” said Banter. “You can find what you need best.” This semester has a very exciting line-up of small groups planned. These include studies of books of the Bible such as Exodus and Psalms as well as many topic studies, such as Hope in the Midst of Mental Health, Epic of Eden and Men of the Word. The group leaders of this semester include the Resident Director of Glide-Crawford Kaylyn Moran, the Resident Director of Aldersgate Julia Hurlow, the Vice President of Admissions Dr. Mark Troyer, Social work professor Lisa Clifton, seminary student Leslie Jager and senior Kellen Ayres. Several of these leaders were either leaders or participants in small groups last semester.

Kaylyn Moran will be leading her first small group this semester. It will be a study of the book “Epic of Eden” by Sandra Richter. “Mine goes through the different covenants of the Old Testament,” said Moran. “[Richter] talks about the idea of covenant and how that informs our idea of the New Testament and how if we don’t understand the Old Testament, we can’t really understand the New Testament. We can’t understand all that Jesus does for us through the New Covenant. I’m really excited about it.”

Senior and RA of 2nd Front in Glide-Crawford Kellen Ayres, will also be leading a small group this semester on the book of Psalms. “Foremost, I hope to foster a love for the Word of God and an enjoyment of reading it. I’ve found in my own life that when you study something very in-depth, it takes on a meaning that is very precious to you,” said Ayres. “Not only does that passage become something that you can turn to in a time of desperation, but it becomes ingrained and routinely comes to mind.”

Each of these ladies, having been involved in small groups in some capacity in the past, unequivocally agreed on the benefits that small groups offer. “The best thing, I believe, is the one-one-one discipleship,” said Banter. “You’re learning about Jesus and then bringing someone else along who’s not as far as you are and you’re helping to disciple them. It just multiplies. It’s all pointing back to Jesus, and that’s how we help to be a part of the Kingdom-work of God.”

Moran commented, “If you’re interested in going deeper into the Bible, this is a really great way to do that without it feeling like a class. It’s transformed my thinking, so I’m excited about that – that other folks can have the opportunity to see that there is more to the Bible than just what is on the surface.”

In regards to the group Ayres led last semester, she said, “I was really blessed by the wisdom and insight that other people in the small group had as well as humbled. It is good to be ‘forced’ to study these things. It was very rewarding.”

To sign up for a small group, email Jeannie Banter at