New Jersey Kicks Off Small Groups

At Small Group Kick Off Night, Saint Paul’s Outreach New Jersey welcomed more than 60 students into outreach small groups in addition to the students who have already committed to join. At the kick off, students gathered to learn what it means to be a part of a small group. These groups are typically made up about five to eight students who are new to Saint Paul’s Outreach and want to dive deeper into their faith. The group members commit to meeting for about an hour each week to discuss a topic of faith. This year, there are twenty outreach small groups led by Mission Leaders and Student Missionaries. Most small groups will use the Starting Point study by Andy Stanley or Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly. These materials allow students to ask important faith questions and examine what their relationship with Jesus really looks like.

During the Small Group Kickoff event, Michela and Jason gave students the four best reasons to join a small group:

  1. Growth – In college, students experience growth intellectually, physically, and socially, but they often neglect spiritual growth. A small group provides a space for spiritual growth.
  2. Relationships – Human beings are relational people. In a small group, students can talk things out, ask questions, gain new perspectives, and build friendships with the other group members.
  3. Accountability – In a small group, students are accountable to each other in their commitment to small group and commitment to their relationship with Christ. Small groups provide practical support of one another for the growth students are seeking.
  4. Relationship with Jesus – The purpose of small groups is to have an opportunity to examine one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. It a place to learn what it means to pray and learn who Jesus is personally.

During the kickoff event, Molly Martinez, a Sophomore at Seton Hall and Student Missionary who will be leading an outreach small group, encouraged her peers:

I remember sitting at the Small Group Kick Off last year contemplating my whole life, because let’s face it college is scary. I kept hearing from other people over and over that we were here for a reason. I was like what? Me? No. But, they were right.

Small group is a chance to open that door to Jesus. Maybe at first it’s just as a crack. But, if we allow ourselves to be open not only with Him but with others, the door is opened more fully. We were made to not only to know God but to connect with others. Small group helps us to break down the walls of our hearts, grow close in community, get new perspectives, and discover answers to questions. Basically, joining a small group was the best decision I ever made.

Student Missionary, Molly Martinez, encourages her peers to join a small group.

The night ended with some crazy Minute to Win It style challenges. Students laughed together as their friends ate donuts dangling from strings, attempted to carry cotton balls on their petroleum jelly covered noses, and guide a cookie from their forehead to mouth without using their hands.

The Small Group Kick Off Night served as a time to help new students catch the vision of small groups, but it also served as a time to simply grow in community with each other. The Small Group Kick Off was not an end, but a beginning to a year of growing in relationship with one another and with Jesus Christ.