by Isabella Baugh
A new addition to the chapel experience has been added to PC. Discipleship small groups will be held every other Tuesday throughout the year, alternating with chapels. According to Joel Rietema, the idea came from principal Dan Van Kooten, but the idea itself is not new. “Christ himself spoke to these masses and yet had a group of 12 that he poured into,” said Rietema. “Inside that group he had three, and people believe inside that group he had 1-2 that he really invested in. Discipleship Groups comes directly from a biblical model of discipleship, which gives it all the validity I need to give it the necessary effort it requires.”
According to Rietema, the overall intent for these small groups is to provide a safe and welcoming environment where relationships among the different grades and staff members may grow together. Peers can come and join, to share, ask questions, and encourage one another. This is a place where brothers and sisters in Christ can give and receive prayers in confidence, and the word of the gospel will be the central topic.
“What I hope students get out of it is to know that there are others at this school that have their back, and they are apart of a smaller community that knows them and loves them,” said Rietema.
Rietema believes that this is an opportunity that could either have an inconsequential or a monumental impact on PCHS, but this all depends on the buy-in of everyone participating. Both students and group leaders should hopefully be willing to take the initiative to love and serve one another as a part of the body of Christ. “It also helps prepare students to be ambassadors of Christ to the community, to their co-workers, family and church outside of the school walls both now and in the future,” said Rietema.
Students responses are expected to be mixed. Some students may think it’s a great idea and be willing to participate right off the bat, while other may not be excited, or see what the point is. But for the most part, after week one of discipleship groups, students seemed to have very positive things to say.
“I’m very excited and enthusiastic about D Groups. I think it’s a great way to create community among the students, and a way for people to feel more comfortable with students no matter their age or the activities they are in,” said junior Lindsay Breon
Freshman Audrey Oosterheert is also looking forward to intermixing with the different ages. “I think D Groups were a great idea. It’s super exciting to be able to meet people from other classes,” she said.