A while ago, in my introduction to the Start a Bible Study series, I mentioned that the lead-up to that point was a “long story.”
Well, here I am with the explanation of that long story! It’s worth the read, I promise.
So, let’s take it back to where it all began: joining a sorority. If you want to read all about that specific experience, check out my post about becoming a part of the Greek community as a Christian. But the bottom line is this: although I felt seriously out of place, I stayed for the friends and always felt that God could use me here (even when I tried to ignore it).
Shortly after joining my sorority, I began to feel God tugging on my heart towards becoming a leader for Him in the position I had been given. So, I Googled “Sorority Bible Study” and stumbled across the website of an organization called Greek InterVarsity. I’d heard of InterVarsity, as I’d seen them tabling on my campus and had a few Cru friends who were a part of the organization. But I didn’t know that this organization had a branch specifically dedicated to Greek life. So, I punched in my email in hopes that I could just get some more info about what it means to start a Bible Study in a Greek chapter. That way, I could *theoretically* go about doing it *one day*, because I was nowhere near ready to do something like that.
Well, I never really heard back from Greek Intervarsity. I assumed it was because I had stumbled upon an old, out-of-date web page that was no longer being actively responded to. I shrugged it off. Secretly, I didn’t want any information anyway, because that would mean that I’d seriously have to think about doing this. And I was scared. I already felt a lot like people in my house didn’t like me or couldn’t relate to me. The last thing I wanted to do was cause a stir or give people a reason to talk about me.
I kept on living my freshman college-student life. Class, Cru, AXO. I kept busy with my schoolwork and enjoyed making new friends. But, every now and then, I would get another little sign reminding me that this could potentially be something I was called to do. Emails from other websites or subscription lists with subject lines like “Want to Learn How to Lead a Bible Study? Free Guide!” Things I had not even asked for just landed in my inbox. I started meeting a few other Christians in Greek life, even in my own house. My best friend from AXO even came with me to my weekly Cru gathering one time.
Slowly but surely, things were starting to happen. I left school at the end of the year with the Bible Study idea still in the back of my mind, but without any real direction for it. It didn’t matter yet, anyway, because I wouldn’t be returning to campus until January. My next destination was Paris for a semester abroad! I put the idea out of my mind for the time being. I could feel in my gut that if this really was something God was calling me to, He would provide the resources and the direction that I needed in due time.
Sure enough, He did.
I had been in Paris for about two weeks when I received an email from someone from Greek InterVarsity. I opened the message and this is what it read:
I am one of the national directors for Greek InterVarsity. I actually live in Chicago, but oversee ministry in regions in the West. I am an Alpha Chi Omega alumni. I was cleaning off my desk yesterday….very overdue…and I ran across a scrap of paper with your name on it and a note about how you had reached out to Greek InterVarsity…via the web site…and are perhaps interested in starting a bible study in Alpha Chi Omega at UC Santa Barbara. Pretty cool that we are technically sisters! I dont know if you are even still at Santa Barbara and are still interested in leading a Bible study.
I am glad to help you with resources and whatever else you might need.
I also wanted to mention that I have a colleague named Kelsey who is on InterVarsity staff there at Santa Barbara. I know she is meeting up with some other Greeks on your campus…maybe Delta Gammas?? Anyway, Kelsey is great and would be local if you want to connect with someone on your campus.
Just to put it on your radar, there is a Greek Conference sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in LA on February 1, 2 and 3. More than 200 Greeks will gather that weekend and you and your sisters or Greek friends would be most welcome to join us.
To put this in perspective, this email came through almost a year after I put my email into the Greek InterVarsity website. A year later, she found a scrap of paper with my name on it and decided to follow the lead.
Well, after more emails with Mindy over the next few weeks, I had committed to attending the conference in LA in February where I would be trained to lead a Bible Study in my chapter. God was for real with this. I even had an online video conference with Mindy, Kelsey, and another InterVarsity staff member while I was still in Paris. (It was a 9pm conference call for me because of the time difference!) All three InterVarsity staff members gave me great advice for how to walk out this calling. At the end of my semester abroad, I headed home knowing that God had provided what I needed, when I needed it. Crazily enough, He did it when I was a continent away.
I moved back to school after winter break full of excitement to be back but also nervousness that this previously abstract calling was becoming increasingly concrete. The conference was four weeks away. I tried to find a friend to attend with me, but with no luck. As the date loomed closer, I dreaded having to confront my social anxiety and go to LA alone. But, go to LA alone is what I did. After all, I told myself, you traveled to Europe and back by yourself. Surely, you can take the train from Goleta to Glendale.
At the conference, I met some awesome people and learned some awesome things and had an awesome time. I’m already looking forward to returning next year. But, most importantly, I was sent on my way with a lot of new knowledge about how to be both a light for Jesus in my house and an effective leader. I even had a little box of resources to use when I launched the study.
I returned to school really excited for what God was doing. I was still nervous, but God had already begun setting up some divine appointments. (Like one of my non-believing friends stopping me in the bathroom to ask if she could come to church with me.)
Unsure of when to officially kick it all off, and still in slight disbelief that this was all actually happening, I decided to set a date for after midterms.
IT WAS HAPPENING.
And that, my friends, is the backstory of how we got to where we are now. God is crazy, right??? Until the next chapter of the story!