From very special to crazy, insane to indescribable – each of the members of this Impact Group at Heritage College & Seminary had different words to describe the group of friends that was formed this year. But, one thing is for certain, this group of College students that was formed at the beginning of the year has now become more than friends.
“Our Impact Group is very tight,” explains MacKenzie Franche, a first-year Bachelor of Religious Education student at Heritage. “At the beginning of the year, there were smaller friendships within the group, but, soon enough, we were just one big happy family.”
Each year, College students at Heritage join together into Impact Groups. Every Monday evening, these groups will get together to study the Bible and pray together throughout the year, while also encouraging and supporting one another in their studies. For many of the students – those who live in residence and those who choose to be a part of an Impact Group who live off campus – these groups are an important part of community life at Heritage.
“I love that Impact Groups are so much more than one hour on Monday night,” says Miranda King, a Bachelor of Religious Education student at Heritage. “It’s doing homework together, going to class or the caf or Chapel together, being together crazy late at night, life chats together – doing life, together.”
It is this mutual encouragement and support as friends that many in this Impact Group have found a blessing this year as they lived life at Heritage together. It is a community that they continue to hold close even from their homes during this time.
Since classes have moved online, the friends have continued to stay connected and meet regularly online in order to be there for one another as they all work hard to finish their courses online.
From regular meetings online for prayer and encouragement to connecting with one another by text and social media, these friends felt that it was important to continue to meet as an Impact Group.
“In a time when we are isolated, it is so important to be reminded that you have a community that loves and supports you even when we’re not together,” says Kate Foster, a SERVE.experience student who joined this Impact Group as an off-campus student.
As they continue to study at Heritage, the group agrees that it’s been helpful to have the motivation from each other to complete their courses, while also reminding each other to be faithful in devotions at home.
For Foster, these times are a reminder of the true value of Impact Groups at Heritage.
“Most people think Impact is just studying the Bible together – and yes, we do that. But it’s so much more than that,” says Foster. “You do it with the people you live in community with; it’s like a built-in group of people who will spur you on throughout the year.”
Impact Groups not only provide all students involved with this sense of community that lasts throughout their time at Heritage, but also help to connect students with mutual support and prayer throughout that time. Though this is something that happens over the course of one year, the members of this group would say that the relationships made in these Impact Groups can – and will – last well beyond the last day of the semester.
“It’s experiences like these that show just how impactful our friendships are – that they will continue even after school ends,” says Myriam Alexanian, Bachelor of Religious Education – Intercultural Studies student at Heritage. “They will last for life.”