Neat story from our friend Emily:
I am Emily Lambert. I am on staff with ZOE Ministries (www.zoeland.com) and I work with four other staff members. We focus on middle school, high school, and we now have a college ministry as well. Every Wednesday night is a ZOE Chapter. During a chapter, we hang out for a little bit – play a game/do a skit – announcements + possible video – worship – Phillip speaks – hang out/go home. We have separate middle school and high school chapters on Wednesday, and we have a college Bible study on Sunday nights.
This past summer in July, ZOE went on a mission trip to Costa Rica with a group from Texas. Two girls, Annie White and Ashley Scarbrough were in the group from Texas and just from conversations we had, IA2 came up. At ZOE, we had been aware of the organization and we would sometimes show one of the IA2 Testimonies on Wednesday nights during the high school chapter. But Annie and Ashley brought up how they were starting these IA2 small groups on their college campus. We thought those groups sounded great and we wanted to somehow get ZOE involved.
Howdy! My name is Ashley Scarbrough and I am a sophomore at Texas A&M University. I lead an I Am Second small group, and I am also the Texas A&M I Am Second Small Groups Coordinator.
You know, its crazy. Writing this and thinking back about how God even brought me here. I never knew what I Am Second groups were. Yea, I saw the website, watched the videos, but I never knew there was something more! I am sure God got a kick out of it, because I never would have guessed He would bring me to I Am Second, or bring me to small groups.
Groups…goodness, when I learned about how to lead an I Am Second group, I had no idea I would even be getting involved, let alone become the Small Group Coordinator on my campus! He knows me so well: I love surprises. And God is obviously FULL of surprises! You never know what to expect from Him.
I came to love I Am Second groups quickly, because as soon as I learned the heart behind the groups, I realized God was simply answering my prayers. Being in college, I have come to realize I have many friends that just need Jesus! They need Jesus, not just a religion, not just a church building, but they need the real Jesus living in them. They need to encounter Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and not just sit in a pew, as their mind wander. They need intimacy, which they are so obviously longing for. I was always find myself asking God, “How do I reach them?” And He showed me a way–I Am Second groups.
I Am Second small groups is a simple tool to gather my friends together just to discuss life and God. We get into the Word. I do not have to preach, but I get to listen. We engage and discuss the Bible. It is a comfortable environment, where my friends who have not given Jesus Christ the key to their heart can open up and discuss the Bible too. He provided a way! He answered my prayers and He has given me a way to reach out to those who just won’t do church. Not only that but my I Am Second group doesn’t grow, it multiplies! I have girls I first had in my I Am Second group, now leading their own and reaching out to their own friends who just need Jesus!
From the SMU Daily Mustang
Narcissistic, lazy and spoiled are just a few of the characteristics that some may use to describe Generation Y. From social networking sites that are used as virtual ego inflators to the instant-fame obsessed culture, it’s no wonder people have diagnosed the Millennials as “overdosed on self-esteem.”
However, there is a new counterculture movement called I AM SECOND and it has leaked onto the SMU campus. According to their website, the organization is meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.
Representatives from the nationwide movement range from athletes like former University of Texas quarterback, Colt McCoy, to American Idol’s Jason Castro, to the every day person.
The movement uses short videos of personal testimonies that deal with the typical struggles of everyday living.
SMU junior James Parker saw the need for a group that empowers students to live for something greater than them—to be second. He decided to begin the first I AM SECOND group early this spring in the Mary Hay Hall.
“I see this [group] not just as a Christian thing, but for each other,” Parker said.
Although James is well-connected with students as a resident advisor and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, he didn’t know what to expect the first meeting.
“I thought maybe six or seven students would show up, but when I opened the door, it was like a roar,” Parker said.
To his surprise, nearly 30 students showed up at the first meeting.
Perhaps SMU students have their own perceptions of religious based groups, but Parker said that the I AM SECOND group on campus is not what you may think. On the group’s Facebook page is a disclaimer stating, “I AM SECOND is not: a bible study, church group, youth group or whatever.”
Due to the success of the group, four other resident halls now host a discussion group. The meetings consist of watching an I AM SECOND video and then discussing how it relates to your life.
The discussion groups not only talk about students’ personal struggles but how they are able to become second to God.
Group leader Evan Taylor said he envisions the group volunteering together so they can grow closer.
“We are community-based and about each other,” Taylor said.
Freshman Kacey Nelson, a participant in the group agrees that helping others should be something people focus more time on.
“I don’t think people spend enough time helping others,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t even have to be religious.”
Although the I AM SECOND group on campus is rooted in Christian values, the group strives to be inclusive and welcomes people from all religions to attend the meetings.
Nelson said that the group does not allow people to be judgmental and Taylor said students will not feel out of place.
“I just want SMU to know that this is a safe place,” Taylor said “No one would be bashed for their beliefs.”
With a selfless movement like I AM SECOND on the rise, it is unclear as to whether some Generation Y stereotypes are warranted. In fact, the Pew Research Center conducted a report on the values, attitudes and behaviors of Millennials.
The study found that the things Millennials value in life mirror the things older generations value. Family matters most and fame and fortune are much less important.
Journalism professor at SMU, Jake Batsell, also argues against Generation Y stereotypes in his recent blog post titled, “Journalism’s Next Generation: Working with Millennials.” Batsell claims that SMU journalism students actually want to make a difference.
“They want to use their multi-platform storytelling skills to do some good,” Batsell said.
Helping others has certainly become a trend at SMU.
“Two recent SMU grads spent part of last summer reporting and blogging from Romanian orphanages and one of our recent alums helped start an orphanage in Uganda,” wrote Batsell.
There are many different opportunities to ‘be second’ and make a difference at SMU. If you would like to get involved with the I AM SECOND’ group on campus, they hold meetings at Perkins Hall, Mary Hay Hall, Virginia Snider Hall, Shuttles Hall and Morrison-McGinnis Hall.
You can check out their website for SMU students for more information.