Coming Back

After many years of feeling alone as a Christian professor on my campus, the Lord brought together a wonderful group of believers. We launched a Christian faculty and staff network in 2016.

Off and running, we began meeting together for prayer and devotions, and we even hosted an annual regional conference in Northern California. I was so grateful to God for building a Christian community where it felt like there had been none!

Abruptly, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and it felt like the wind had been completely knocked out of our sails. Our campus shut down. Faculty and staff scrambled to shift to online teaching.

We thought we would be back together in just a few weeks. As weeks became months, our group wrestled to find ways to re-engage. We tried Zoom prayer times with some limited success. It began to feel like we might never come back.

When the campus finally re-opened, many faculty continued to teach remotely, so our group continued to feel dormant. Our leadership group began to talk about how we might infuse some new life into the ministry and reached out to David ZagRodny from Faculty Commons for help.

Rather than trying to meet as a large group, what if we started a small group? Three of us started meeting to pray. This single group grew into multiple small groups, meeting in person or via Zoom for 30 minutes to pray for the campus and each other. Different people joined depending on their schedules.

I launched a small group for women on Wednesdays. There were weeks I was discouraged: I walked the campus alone on one Wednesday, unsure whether to continue. I am so glad I did not give up! Over time, more women joined, and we met every week. It feels like we have finally broken through that terribly disconnected season.

An unexpected highlight has been how one of our small groups has expanded beyond just faculty. A campus ministry staff member asked if she could join the Tuesday small group. The following week, another campus ministry staff member joined, and then students.

What began as a group of three faculty praying has grown into a faculty-sponsored “all campus” prayer walk.

Through tears, one of our Sacramento State students shared at our final prayer walk of the year:

This prayer walk was the most important part of my week. I have been so isolated and lonely these past couple of years. I would sit in class on Tuesday mornings, waiting for the clock to strike noon because I was so excited to come out and pray with this group.”

What a joy — and a powerful reminder that community matters! She thanked us for meeting each week for prayer and for the invitation to our Christian students on campus to join the group in prayer on Tuesdays.

In an unexpected way, God showed us that we didn’t need to try to get everyone together at once — just start a small group and multiply. God can do great things with just a handful of people.

I can’t wait to see how God will continue to move as we offer our meager loaves and fishes to Him, even if it starts with just a few of us.

Laurie Kubicek
Criminal Justice
Sacramento State University