Tuscaloosa, AL

A Story of Life Together

shared by CL and NB - These are the stories of God, by the people of God, for the people of God.
This story focuses on two students who have walked alongside each other in freshman life groups and discipleship.
CL, as a leader of a freshman life group, why do you think discipleship is so important and how has it impacted your walk?
Discipleship was something that I had never really understood the importance of until I came to Calvary last year. I honestly was hesitant at first to be discipled by someone because it was so new and unknown to me, but with the help of my life group leaders and someone asking me if I wanted to be discipled by them, I finally felt ready. It was life changing and truly helped me in all aspects of my walk with the Lord. Discipleship is a time of learning from another believer and gaining wisdom through scripture and prayer, which I had never done before. Just being a freshman and being able to do life with an upperclassman, walk through scripture and share struggles with them truly helped me navigate my first year in college. At the beginning of this year, my life group encouraged our girls to be discipled.  The first time we met these girls they were so eager to learn what discipleship was.. It has been so encouraging to see them dive deeper into the Word one-on-one with someone and grow in their faith. Discipleship is so important, especially freshman year, just for accountability and learning in  your first year in college. Having that one person that will encourage you and hold you accountable when you are needing it is crucial your freshman year. If you aren’t currently being discipled I would encourage you to reach out to your life group leader or anyone on staff or leadership and get connected with someone. You will not regret it.

NB, how have life groups played a role in creating community for you, especially as a freshman?
Life groups introduced me to some of my closest friends here at Alabama and was one of the things I was most looking forward to when I moved here. Going through 1 John this semester truly reminded me of how significant community is in our lives as believers. 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” It’s tough for me to be vulnerable because I don’t want it to change how people perceive me, but that is what Jesus asks us to do. Getting to hear the struggles of the girls in my life group has done nothing but make me believe that they are strong women pursuing the Lord and encouraged me to pray more frequently and intimately for them. Sharing my struggles with them in return has made me feel fully seen and fully loved, which is the way God intended our relationships. I come from a strong community of believers back home & I've begun to build that here, so all semester God has heavily placed it on my heart to build that community for those around me as well. Every part of the body is important, and if I’m not obeying God’s call on my life and using the gifts He’s given me to obey that call then I’m not walking in light like 1 John talks about. This semester's life group has inspired me to replicate the community that I’ve been blessed to experience in my life group amongst the whole freshmen class. I am afraid of my own pride in that and unsure of what the outcome of my blind “yes” to the Lord will be, but the beauty of the body is that they will catch me when I fall and give me the same grace Jesus does. The beauty of community is that it is never all on me and it exists to glorify the Father. I’m reminded so often of His goodness by those around me, in and outside of life group. If you haven’t joined a life group yet, I highly encourage it. I know that this incredible group of believers will welcome you in whichever life group you find yourself in!

CL, how has leading a life group challenged you this semester?
Leading a life group means that you have to be ready for those tough questions and questions from freshman girls that are just figuring out how to walk through their faith without their parents. Leading has challenged me in my walk because I need to be filled in order to pour out to these girls. I can not pour from an empty well because it will take a toll on you if you do.

NB, how has getting involved with a life group changed your perspective of the gospel?
My life group leaders do a great job of emphasizing loving those who don’t know the gospel. This semester as we went through 1 John, I was really reminded that loving people as Christ does is a sacrificial love and that love does not include grumbling. If I’m going to love someone to glorify the Father then I shouldn’t be laughing at them, not making fun of them, or acting as if they’re burdensome towards me. Back home I did outreach ministries, but I feel like I treated those who I ministered to not as friends, but as people I was simply pouring into. I considered my church friends my actual friends. At Alabama I’ve gotten the opportunity to walk in closer friendships with people from class and my dorm. So this reminder that God is love, and I should be walking in love has been much more prominent in my life lately. Loving is how we show who God is, especially because He is defined as the true and constant source of love.