Every week for the last seven years, a group of girls and their three leaders has gathered in the Student Ministry Conference room for food, study and prayer. What’s clear as you talk to them, though, is that this time has become about so much more. Through these most formative years, when girls too-often struggle to find friends with whom they can be their true selves, the twelfth grade girls Bible study has thrived. The magic and miracles that happen in the 3-ish hours they spend together each Monday are evident in their devotion to one another and to this set-apart time.
"...from the beginning, they’ve shared a meal, which they all take turns providing, and while they eat, they share their lives with each other—good things, hard things, everyday things."
Carrie McCravy has led this group since the beginning, when the girls were in 6th grade, and Taylor Mooney and Patti Messamore joined them shortly thereafter. And from the beginning, they’ve shared a meal, which they all take turns providing, and while they eat, they share their lives with each other—good things, hard things, everyday things. When Taylor’s alarm goes off, the girls put their phones in the middle of the table, get out their Bibles and book studies, and talk about the homework from the study that week. At first, the three leaders took turns facilitating the discussion, but as the girls have gotten older, they have taken more and more responsibility, so that now each week one girl is responsible for leading. Taylor explains, “It’s been beautiful to watch them grow and be equipped in this.”
Next, they begin a time a of “check-in.” During this time, each girl answers four questions: 1.) Glory Sightings—where have you seen God during the week? 2.) How are you and Jesus doing? (can be on a number scale or using words) 3.) What spiritual discipline are you working on? 4.) What prayer requests do you have?
“By coming from a place of love and caring, calling somebody out in a gentle way keeps us accountable, and having accountability is how you build trust in a group.”
As their relationships have grown, the girls have given each other permission to ask questions, challenge one another, and check-up on one another regarding the answers they give during this time. Senior Emily Nichols says, “If I didn’t have to share with everyone how my spiritual disciplines are going and how my relationship with God is, then I really don’t think I would have developed the self control needed to further my relationship with God.” Abby Easley adds, “By coming from a place of love and caring, calling somebody out in a gentle way keeps us accountable, and having accountability is how you build trust in a group.”
This kind of accountability has led to friendships that defy the “mean-girl” stereotypes for female relationship. Janae McGlothlin shares, “One of the things I love is that we can be honest and vulnerable with each other. We don’t need to put on fake smiles and compete with the world. We can be authentic and do real life together, and I think that’s so important because it’s where the Lord moves!”
Camsy Huang’s favorite thing about this group is that they have “a group chat with a long history of everything from prayer requests to birthday GIFs, “ and she loves “that the girls are always only a text away.” Chloe Ransom agrees, “ These girls feel like family to me. We’ve been through so many major life events together, and I can send a prayer request over the chat and someone answers within seconds.”
Patti Messamore says that what touches her most about this group “is the way they pray for and support one another. They are proof that Christ-centered community matters.”
"God can’t make you open your Bible and build a relationship with Him, just like an accountability group can’t, but having that support system gives the physical reminder of the love being offered to you by Christ and the opportunity to deepen your faith.”
As the end of high school approaches and they begin to think about going their separate ways next year, they are certain that after so many years of sharing life together, the bond will last. And they have all learned the value of an accountability group. Lauren Hill sums it up well: “Accountability groups provide an example of God calling you to follow Him and a path to follow to grow in your faith. God can’t make you open your Bible and build a relationship with Him, just like an accountability group can’t, but having that support system gives the physical reminder of the love being offered to you by Christ and the opportunity to deepen your faith.”