Serving as an FFG Leader

by Jackson Doss

There is without a doubt one phrase that I heard before college that stood out among the rest when it came to my freshmen year at UA.

“Your faith will truly become your own the day you step foot on campus.”

When I look back at my freshman year, these words couldn’t be any truer. New places, people, events, and activities all try to fill the desire for community and purpose that each one of us is born with. More times than not, I found myself trying to react as I did in high school, falling back on the things that I was comfortable with or knew the best.

Thankfully, I was blessed to be involved with a Church ministry in high school that supported us and prepared us for the years ahead on our own. The idea of getting plugged into a local church excited me, and I looked forward to meeting more brothers and sisters in Christ during the next stage of my life. That’s where freshman family groups came in. All through my first year, being a part of an FFG challenged me to become a better follower of Jesus Christ and showed me that the community we all strive for is in Christ. This group always had a special place in my heart and goes to prove that we can only find true satisfaction in Christ. At the end of freshman year, I immediately felt the call of the Lord to share this same passion with the next upcoming class and lead a freshman family group the next year.

Over the past year, the Lord has more than fulfilled his promise that this is where he wanted me to be. If we listen to his call and obey his commands, he will take care of us. For the first time in my life, I finally felt like I was doing something right. It was as if I was truly experiencing what it felt like to be “under his wing” or reminded that “He’s got the whole world in His hands” as the old children’s song goes. I was oftentimes reminded of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” If we as followers of Jesus Christ want to fully experience what God has planned for our life, we must surrender over everything that holds us back and turn eyes and hearts upon Jesus. Sin, idols, comfort, and insecurities are just some of the many examples of things that pull my attention away from the Lord. It goes to show that I’m not perfect with this. I’m just as broken as anyone else is; I’m “prone to wander”, but,  we’ve all been given this beautiful gift of a Christ-centered community to help us and support us.

Given this, I learned a lot over the past year. One of the main takeaways was the impact that leading a freshman family group left on my personal faith.

Just because I co-led a group did not mean I couldn’t grow and strengthen my own walk with the Lord. I’m not sure why, but before I took steps to become a small group leader, I had this misconception that I was only there to help others grow in their faith and that I would find my encouragement and growth elsewhere. Well, as I have learned over the years, this is completely and utterly false. I found that leading a small group like an FFG, can strengthen my walk in ways I didn’t even think possible. This past year I’ve grown closer to the Lord than ever before, and I got to spend more time in prayer and more time reading his Word. I found myself relating to the topics every week and looking forward to hearing what the group took away. Proverbs 27:17 was read or referred to most every week: “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” This verse served as a “battle cry” for this past year and proved to me that I could use the chance to lead as a way to strengthen my personal walk with the Lord.

Looking back at the year as a whole, the new faces and new friendships created will always be something I can cherish as well as learn from. From finding out that my apartment maxes out at 12 people, to hearing the various “Nooo’s” or sighs when I walked up in my bass flip flops, I can do nothing but thank the Lord for his goodness and love. What a year it has been, and I encourage anyone considering leading a small group to do it because the Lord can use you in ways like never before.  

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6