PUC students are in action. You see them everyday: in class, walking to the cafeteria, loitering in the hallways, studying. But what happens behind the scenes is even better. Students are taking a spiritual initiative to organize worships and fellowships which supplement school-planned programs.
Senior theology major, Jason Decena, originally organized what were called cell groups, a term they have moved away from because of recent terrorist activity. Under the new title of family groups, Jason, and others like him, participate in an interactive group that finds inspiration and a deeper commitment to God through communication and fellowship.
“The groups, in a nutshell, help everyone on his or her way through life,” explained Jason.“The small number of students in each group helps make it very intimate so real communication can take place”
One of the main functions of the group is accountability—making sure each and every person in the group feels included and cared about. “The first thing we ask each other when we meet is, ‘How are you, really?’”
The groups meet at least once a week and are comprised of about eight students. Each dorm at PUC already has at least one group. Jason and his group leaders recognize that people need people to express themselves and find help as they grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The relief of letting others know what they’re feeling is not the only benefit of the groups. Jason and the other group leaders hope that the conversations and Christian fellowship will help the members discover feelings and ideas that weren’t known before.
“College years are an important part of a Christian’s life,” said Jason. “It’s when young people really start thinking for themselves, and about things much more important than what shirt to wear with which shoes.”
PUC-orchestrated worships, vespers, and church services are very good forms of fellowship; but PUC students have recognized that a more personal, less populated setting is almost essential to reach those who are hurting or trying to deal with life’s struggles.
“It’s amazing we don’t do the same thing in our own Adventist churches,” says Jason. He explained that the original idea of cell groups was sparked by a description he heard of a Korean church—the largest church in the world, according to some, that used the fellowship and support of cell groups to meet the needs of an incredibly large congregation. Though the church is non-Adventist, the pastor, ironically enough, says he got the idea from Ellen White.
“I know I really need the groups,” said Jason. “I need that talk with others once a week just to let someone else know what’s going on, and I think everyone else does, too.”