Over the past several weeks, small posters have been popping up all over campus, advertising a weekly small group, lead by Reaching Our City Church. Sophomore Tyler Thornton said, “I’ve never been to the group, but I’ve seen the posters. It seems cool.”
Junior Austin Jenkins was able to discuss with us why the group exists, what meetings look like and what he saw for the future of the group.
Jenkins started by describing the ideas that lead to the small group’s formation. As a ministry intern at Reaching Our City Church, he gets to see firsthand how people who society usually ignores are loved by Christians in a community. “If you’ve been to The ROC,” Jenkins said, “you’ll know that it’s not a typical church.”
Partnering with Associate Pastor Austin Troyer, Austin Jenkins wanted to primarily bring that same level of community and commitment to SNU. On top of that, the group aims to make a space where students are open to talk about problems and issues in their life.
“What we want for this small group,” Jenkins said, “is to create a space where people are comfortable talking about their problems.” This sense of community is created by making the group more than just people meeting for one hour every week. Group members are encouraged to get in touch with others throughout the week to support and encourage each other.
Even the meetings are structured around the community rather than a formal small group. While Jenkins does prepare Bible passages to discuss, the conversation is free to drift wherever it may. Jenkins said he wanted the atmosphere of the group to be one where “you don’t have to worry about being judged or criticized… or being looked down on.”
As far as the future of the group goes, Jenkins is optimistic. Currently, the group is meeting in the commons every Sunday night at 7 p.m. However, the leaders are open to change as the group grows. According to Jenkins, the school has to keep someone working to let the students into the commons at that time, as they are usually locked. He told us that one night, “we met by the fountain because the commons was closed.”
Despite the unusual nature of the Reaching Our City small group, Jenkins is sure that the community he is a part of will work to further bring the kingdom of God to Southern Nazarene University.