What Does Discipleship Look Like From Six Feet Away?

by Lauren Ryan

Covid-19 has reoriented how campus functions in many ways. In the area of discipleship, the heart and desire for students has not changed, even though this year has looked different for Residence Life and Discipleship Ministries. 

This year has grown many staff members’ and students’ outlooks on trusting the Holy Spirit. Printy Resident Director, Abbey Buettell, has been encouraged to keep it simple this year. 

“If it were up to me alone, I would fail at every attempt,” Buettell said. “It is only by the grace of God and through Christ and the Holy Spirit that discipleship can happen at all. I think the most important thing to remember is that discipleship is the Lord’s ministry, not ours.” 

As Residence Life and Discipleship Ministries prepared for thousands of students to arrive on campus this fall, they prayerfully thought through how to serve effectively amid logistical changes. 

“COVID means wearing a mask so sometimes facial expressions aren’t an effective way to communicate,” Buettell said. “I have realized I need to be more careful about my tone of voice and body language.”

Printy RA Emily Harris has been reminded of the importance of prayer on campus, especially for the women she lives with. 

“Discipling by example this year has looked like voicing personal frustrations with our circumstances less and supporting leadership on campus more,” Harris said.

Harris said she is continually reminded of circumstances that are out of her control and seeks to find ways to care for and serve residents well from six feet away. The impact of living by example often goes unnoticed, Harris said, yet can yield great impact. 

“I can’t force anyone I know to desire Christ more,” Harris said. “But, by the grace of God, I can show my residents what a full pursuit of Jesus looks like for a college student who, just like them, is working to get through classes, maintain friendships, and get enough sleep.”

In the midst of social distancing, unit and hall events have seen a whole new side of creativity. This year has opened up more opportunities for conversations about finding joy in all circumstances, being patient, and putting the needs of others above one’s own. 

Even though students may not be able to meet inside in large groups, campus is still buzzing with new, creative ways to continue seeking out community. Some of the best memories of this year have been out in God’s creation. 

I’ve loved meeting with girls for walks around campus or grabbing coffee and sitting on the steps by the BTS,” Harris said. “Some of our bro-sis went hiking together at Indian Mounds and we routinely meet for bro-sis dinner on the SSC hill, instead of inside Chucks as we’ve done in the past.”

The Lord is working in the lives of students on Cedarville’s campus in the midst of a pandemic. God’s work is not limited by logistical requirements.

“I’ve been in so many conversations where the Lord is working on students’ hearts,” Buettell said. “He is creating men and women who are shaped by humility, service, kindness, joy, unity, and patience. It’s beautiful and encouraging to see the Lord work in our lives.”

Lauren Ryan is a senior Professional Writing & Information Design major. She serves as the Campus Editor for Cedars. You can probably spot her around campus by her bright yellow backpack. On a regular day, she’s most likely hanging out with friends or setting up a hammock.

1 Reply to "What Does Discipleship Look Like From Six Feet Away?"

  • comment-avatar
    Perry November 17, 2020 (9:40 am)

    What a beautiful article sharing how God is working in your lives through challenges, for our good and His glory!