ENC’s Spiritual Development began offering a new resource for first-year students in October 2018 called “Discipleship Groups.”

Led by ENC student chaplains Becky Hay and Jannon Smith, their mission has been to provide a safe place for first-year students. The goal is for this to be a more direct way to reach out to people, especially those who may be struggling to adjust to college.

Hay has been a driving force behind making sure the groups came to life.

“I had come into my position as student chaplain last semester, and I had known that there needed to be more of an outreach to new students; Lynne [Bollinger] and Emily [Ludwig] had felt the same,” Hay explains.

Hay gives a lot of credit to Bollinger, who “… was the one who put a name to the idea and came up with the structure for us to follow, loosely based on the same topic ideas that are used for students who receive chapel exemptions.”

Topics can range between many different ideas, from the ENC community and adjusting to college life, to identity, family, and passions.

The structure of these groups is simple: they open with an icebreaker to make students feel comfortable before sharing the topic for the night. Hay and Smith then, along with the help of an upperclassman guest, share their experiences regarding the topic before opening it up to anyone who may feel inclined to share. They end by taking prayer requests; students are encouraged to leave a note in Hay’s mailbox if they wish for their prayers to be anonymous.

While this is a resource offered by the Spiritual Development Office and there may be religious undertones to a topic, Hay wants to emphasize that it is not a Bible study and is open to anyone.

“It’s been a journey figuring out what works and what doesn’t,” says Hay, who became a student chaplain in the Fall 2018 semester. “At the end of the day, we are just trying to cater to what students need. I just want to love on people, that’s my main goal.”

Freshman discipleship groups meet every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m., with girls meeting in third Willy Lounge and boys in the second Memorial Lounge.