The Most Successful Bible Study on Campus
Reported by Danielle Brown
In the darkness of George Fox University’s (GFU) Foxhole, students spread out across the room, some lifting their hands to heaven, others bowing their faces and all singing worship songs in unison.
To them, this gathering is more than just a Bible study. Lazarus offers a place to be loved and vulnerable in the middle of a hectic week where students can bring their burdens and find rest in God for a few hours.
“I think why a lot of people came last year and why people still come is because it’s real, it’s deep, it’s not just surface-level fellowship,” said Jack Ammon, a sophomore at GFU and leader at Lazarus. “All the leaders here firmly believe that faith and God can and does change us — not just something that should change us, but something that actually does — and we see it happen.”
Two weeks into their freshman year of college, Anna Gallagher turned to her roommate Sophia Lawrence and suggested that they begin a Bible study with their dorm. Hesitant but convinced by Gallagher’s enthusiasm, Sophia agreed, so they started making flyers and had a surprising turnout for their first meeting last year.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” Lawrence admitted. After few people showed up the following week, she started having doubts, but she didn’t quit.
It wasn’t long before things started falling in place with the addition of their first male leaders. About a month later, they were moving into the Foxhole and by the end of last year, there were almost 70 people attending, although that is not their marker for success.
“We want to create a space where people can come and encounter God,” said Ammon. That means maintaining the integrity of Lazarus to those who truly want to be a part of the discipleship that the group encourages.
Brent Wilson shared that though they had the option to offer an elective chapel credit this year, they chose not to because they want the people involved to want to be there.
Like the story of Lazarus in the Bible, who was raised to life from the dead, they believe that it is only when we lay down our lives and die to ourselves that we will fully submit ourselves to Christ and experience life in Jesus.
“Think of all the things we go through,” Wilson shared. “Having a space to come in as a community and just worship and pray together is super cool.”