Updated: May 17
Everyone needs somewhere to belong. That’s especially true for university and college students away from home. Whether you’ve simply moved out of mom and dad’s into your own apartment in the same city or if you’re an ocean away from home during your studies, finding community is one of the most important (and often one of the hardest) tasks in settling into post-secondary life.
Years ago at our headquarters location called Geneva House in Kingston, Ontario, we developed and started using a small group model called Huddles. (And no, by huddles we don’t mean football players gathering to hear the next play from their quarterback.)
Huddles are designed to get students into community with each other in deeper ways. Shallow friendships are one thing; it takes much more intentionality to be seen, heard, and accepted by someone else. That’s what we strive for with our Huddles.
Our Huddles are groups of 3 to 5 people who meet weekly to share about their lives. While it takes time to develop that rapport necessary for deeper sharing, we’ve found time and again that our students are open to this type of deeper connection. For the ones who want to go deeper with a small group of people for a semester or the whole year, Huddles are where it’s at. They are one of the main ways we foster community and facilitate discipleship on campus.
Our groups are modelled on our LAMP acronym: Listening, Accountability, Missional living, and Prayer. This model (laid out in our Huddle journals we hand out to students at the beginning of every Huddle) encourages students to develop their own personal quiet time. When Huddles meet, students are encouraged to share how they’ve been listening to God throughout the week. Our pillars of accountability and missional living add a practical application element to the process, and prayer is how we support and encourage each other.
Huddles help our students develop a regular discipline of quiet time with God, a habit of living missionally outwards to their peers, classmates, and community, and help them develop the skill of listening well to others. We’ve found that Huddles are also a great place to raise up student leaders as they provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer discipleship.
Huddles are a safe place to welcome people into community. If you’d like to know more about our Huddles, how we train our Huddle leaders, or if you would like to begin implementing Huddle groups at your university or college campus, please contact our team using the contact form. We’d love to chat more about how we can help equip you to foster community at your campus today!
We'd also love to provide you with some free resources for kickstarting Huddles at your campus or church! Click here to visit our Resources page and find everything you need to begin huddling today.