D groups focus on openness

By Heather Mead

Campus accountability and support group known as Discipleship groups returned for the second year this week.

Unlike last year, these “D groups” will no longer be book studies, and resident assistants will not be the only group leaders.

The groups will use e-vos, or e-mail devotionals, and a list of questions written by University Chaplain Mark Holcomb. The groups will also focus on prayer, Scripture passages, and asking and answering questions.

“The e-vos are driven by the theme of chapel,” Holcomb said. “D groups are a chance to talk about what the chapel leader talked about,” said Holcomb said.

The groups are also designed to help students grow in their faith in a smaller setting.

“D groups focus on the close relational aspect in an open environment,” said senior Morgan McPherson, who currently serves as a D group leader. “We can open up and share things more than in a big setting, where you don’t know anybody.” The leaders make the decisions for their own group, such as how to teach the lesson, the order of events, and how their group markets itself.

“They get to choose time and the night they meet,” Holcomb said. “They can use part of the e-vo or all of it.”

McPherson decided that she did not want her group to be structured.

“We can laugh, shed a few tears, grow together, and do whatever we need,” she said.

The groups will meet once week and have approximately 10 to 12 people. This year, D groups will be starting with 16 different leaders. The groups may be for males, females or co-ed and may meet on or off campus.

People can join a D group any time throughout the year by talking to their residential assistant or director.

Besides a booth at the Festival of Ministries, the school will not actively advertise D groups.

“The best way for D groups to be spread is by word of mouth. I want students to lead and manage,” Holcomb said.

With openness as the goal of the groups, people are encouraged to talk about anything they are struggling with, which is why confidentiality and small group sizes are important.

“When groups get to a certain size, the group will split. A group of four is different than a group of 15,” Holcomb said.

“Everything we do is big,” McPherson said. “As Holcomb once told me, Sunday schools are big, big worship services. They are great, but sometimes we need to get back to the small. We’re focusing on the small.”

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