Part of my job is to lead a Core group, which at UCM is the equivalent of a bible study + community/life group. I lead with another girl (it’s the first time leading a Core for both of us) on Monday nights, and the goal is that the same group will meet every week to foster great friendships and in-depth discussions. Cores are the very core of our ministry (that’s why they’re named as they are) and the idea is that even if we produce minimal fruit everywhere else in our work, it’s our goal to establish a strong core network for the students in which they can feel supported and grow spiritually. We function as a social group, personal support/encouragement/accountability group, discussion group, and study group. It’s a bit of a complex make-up and each group takes on a unique tone depending on its members, but I really love Cores. Many of my best friends today are from my first year Core!
In all my time as a student, it was my biggest fear to have to step into this specific leadership role because as we all know, it’s way easier to be led than to lead in situations like this. I went into this apprenticeship with high anxieties about leading a group, and to take it to the next level, I am co-leading a first year group. My first reaction was that it was high pressure time because first years are the future of our community. If I were to fail miserably here, not only would I fail our ministry goal, I would also be putting the future of our ministry in jeopardy. What if I greatly mislead the students? What if it made me into a false prophet? What if I am an awful facilitator and teacher? What if etc. etc. etc.
I brought my fears to God in prayer throughout the summer and almost every time I pray. None of this was in my control, and we (the staff) prayed over the sorting so much! The way the cores are sorted are the only ways that actually worked, so per usual, everything was in God’s hands. It’s been a couple weeks now and I can only say that this is probably my favourite part of the apprenticeship so far. My co-leader is such an amazing human being and so incredibly hospitable, the senior staff did an amazing job of putting together each bible study (we’re focusing on Sermon on the Mount for this semester), and God is at work in building community in our little group. It’s a very good reminder that this whole thing is not up to me, and I need to release the responsibility to God. I am a servant here, not the master.
Personally, I find that the most important thing that I’m learning at this moment is about responsibility. As an apprentice, and as an able bodied Christian, it’s my responsibility to be prepared to serve to the best of my abilities. There are many times when questions come up that I don’t really know how to answer biblically, and many other times that the students are much more knowledgeable than me. I’m not taking it as a competition in any way, but I am seeing very clearly that it is my responsibility to give them the best that I can, and to serve them with honour because this is the work the Lord has called me to. The Lord blesses us with wisdom, knowledge, and etc. (endless blessing!) but as stewards it’s our responsibility to use them as kingdom building tools. We’re given these gifts to use, and if we don’t use them, than what’s the point? It’s a humbling reminder to be diligent in my own devotionals and studies as the students rely on us (my co-leader and myself) for honest, accurate, and useful answers.
If you’re looking for a bible study, feel free to use ours! It’s available at http://www.ubc.ucmonline.ca under Resources > Core Studies. Our studies from the past few years are there, and they’re great to use; easy enough for beginners to understand, but complex enough that the more experienced can take it to the next level.