Freshmen learn quickly their wing is like their family. Nobody gets to choose it, but everyone spends time together and learns to love one another despite differences. In the past the Steggy, Fern and Hospers, Discipleship Groups, or D-Groups, have been an important chance for wing members to connect on a deep level. However, this year D- Groups are different.
In recent years, there were two D-Group leaders per wing. The girls on the wing were then divided between the pair. This year six girls signed up to be leaders in Steggy, but they are unequally distributed throughout the building. There is more than one leader on some wings and no leaders on others. This makes it impossible for the old D-Group format to work. This year everyone in the dorm who signed up to attend D-Groups was distributed among the six leaders. Because there are fewer leaders, Steggy has larger D-Groups than usual with each averaging 18 girls.
Fern, on the other hand, only has approximately eight girls per D-Group but is also trying out this new arrangement. Hospers also has an average of eight girls, and this isn’t the first year that they have mixed their D-Groups across wings.
There is no universal answer for how girls are responding to the changes in D-Groups. In Fern, older students said they miss the chance to connect with their wing on a deeper level but also enjoy getting to build relationships with girls they wouldn’t normally get a chance to meet.
In Steggy, the leaders have the challenge of interacting personally with each of the girls in their large groups, but Discipleship Group Intern Haley Chambers said:“I have so much confidence and faith in the leaders, and they are doing a great job being super intentional with each of their girls. They each have their own way of making their D-group unique.”
Chambers said she also sees the larger groups as an opportunity for God to work in new ways.
“The times that the Lord calls us out of our comfort zones are when change happens and when we can learn from it the most,” Chambers said.
The new style challenges girls to be vulnerable in a big group. It takes courage.
Britta Wilson, one of the four D-Group leaders in Hospers, has seen many positive outcomes already. The woman in her group are very involved by sharing testimonies, bringing snacks and providing music for worship.
“The spread of responsibility is wonderful—it means that the pressure is not on me to do everything perfectly as the D-Group leader,” Wilson said. “This mentality reinforces the idea that we are a small group that is working together and that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Just because I am the leader doesn’t make me more spiritual than anyone in my group.”
Leaders agree God is at work empowering women to open up to one another and build new friendships. All throughout campus, women are sharing their testimonies, studying faith stories in the Bible and growing in a better understanding through each D-Group leader’s unique lessons.
“Overall, it’s really going well so far; the Spirit’s moving, and we’re just waiting arms wide open to see where we’re led,” Wilson said.
Despite the changes in the way some D-Groups look this year, their mission is the same. They remain a place of escape from the busy week of a college student and a time to reflect on God and grow together as sisters in Christ.