Kate Reuer-Welton, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St Paul, MN
We had a weird fall at LCM-Twin Cities. So many students coming to worship, and none of them doing anything else. It defied everything I knew, and had come to expect, from my experience with college students. I still have many theories about why, but we regrouped for the Spring, and launched a small group ministry that was really fun, and impacted our community in some real ways.
We used the “3DM (3D Movements, link to https://3dmovements.com/),” model, but tweaked it to meet the capacity of our groups. Our huddles were shaped by the hunger that servant leaders were feeling to deepen connections among a small group of people within our community, to share their lives, grow in faith, and to put their faith in action. Read More >>>
Huddles provide a place for meaningful connection. Connor says, “during the first few huddle meetings of the semester when we were talking about vulnerability I realized that while I am good at having a conversation with basically anyone, it is still very challenging for me to open up about myself to create a much deeper connection with another person – this is an area where I want to grow.”
Small groups of 4-6 people, most of them student led, lived into a monthly rhythm of learning about theological concepts that included agape, wilderness and resurrection. They followed that biblical and theological exploration by sharing stories about ways God shows up in their lives and in the world, while discerning together how to embody that concept. Stories were shared, big questions were asked, and together they put their faith in action through interfaith events, service projects, concerts, art exhibits, and more!
Julia explains, “Huddles provide fulfillment and energy by adapting to the interests of its members – for example, our members are all interested in social justice. So we attended social justice-related events and educational opportunities on campus as a group. This helped us connect our new knowledge of social justice issues with our understanding of God’s call for us to love and serve others.”
Whether attending an exhibit at Minnesota Institute of Art, serving together at Community Emergency Services, or attending March for Our Lives, students say they grew closer to each other and in their faith, especially as they practiced keeping their eyes open for the many ways God shows up in their lives and in the world.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth in my faith through our huddles,” James says. “Our huddle leader has really challenged us as a group, and it’s been amazing to share stories of my faith with other kids facing the same challenges I do every day. It shows me that faith is alive and well, even on college campuses, and that finding those people is what really can spurt good deeds and faithful service not only on our campus, but across the country.”
LCM-TC’s experiment with huddles proved to have a deeper and broader impact that we anticipated, and will most likely become a regular part of LCM-TC’s ministry next year.