During the Abbey Intensive on Whidbey Island, Dean Doug Strong assigned the graduate students (along with one faculty member each) in to small groups. Modeled after Wesleyan-style class meetings, these small groups meet every week to discuss the things that are happening in each other’s lives.

My group in particular meets on Mondays in the library. During the hour session, we have been able to connect in a way that has enabled a strong bond between students. At the beginning of the quarter, the discussion between students was basic and minimal. However, we have seen strong relational growth as the quarter has gone on. For us, the meeting begins with a general question about the week. Each individual elaborates on where they have seen Jesus working in their lives throughout the week and asks for prayer in any specific area where there may be struggles. At the end of the meeting, the group prays for each other and encourages each other on in the name of Christ.

For me personally, class meetings have been an excellent source of fellowship with my fellow students. I have built stronger friendships and been more open with them than I sometimes am at church in my own community. The required class meetings have been awesome.

-Donovan Richards


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