For Emily Monday, home and the local community church in the small town of Chester, California, were great places for a naturally shy girl to grow.
When she first learned of Seattle Pacific University, Emily was interested. Study abroad opportunities. Low professor-to-student ratio. And wonder of wonders, a degree program in one of her strong areas of interest.
But arguably her most spiritually satisfying decision was to become a facilitator in the SPU small group discipline, SoulCare. In weekly one-hour meetings, she gathered with a handful of other students to encourage spiritual introspection.
“We can get so busy that we never sit down to analyze our personal lives in relationship to God,” says Emily. “I definitely feel something’s missing when I don’t take that time. I’ve learned that faith is a community thing and not something that I can do by myself. We’re supposed to come alongside and support each other.”
All Seattle Pacific, students take part in a SoulCare group for one quarter of their freshman or sophomore year to fulfill a requirement of the five-credit UFDN 1000 course. At the end of the quarter, each member of the group expresses what they have discovered in answering the question, “How goes it with your soul?”
“We SoulCare leaders work together to make presentations or create a work of art to illustrate how our small groups are progressing,” says Emily who was mentored and trained in small group leadership by a Murdock Discipleship Fellow, one of four graduate students at Seattle Pacific Seminary providing mentorship to SoulCare leaders. “I can empathize with those who find it a challenge to present what they’ve learned. I’m the type who has to write to process how my soul is doing.”
In her quiet and unassuming manner, Emily found the small group setting calmed her reticence for vocal leadership. “I wanted to create a safe place like that for others.”
Her academic diligence and developing appreciation for God’s leading in her life have brought the senior to the threshold of early graduation in December. Thanks to her time at SPU and the reassuring strength of the SoulCare journey, her future is rich with possibilities. The Murdock Trust is honored to partner with colleges like SPU, which invest in the holistic well-being of their students and build them up into strong and caring leaders.