This summer, WinShape College Program implemented its third year of LifeCast, a hands-on discipleship training experience designed to equip college students to be disciples and help them grow as leaders within local churches and college campuses. The program, designed to expand College Program’s impact, brought together 11 students from four colleges — Berry College, Auburn University, Columbus State University and Southern Union State Community College – and equipped them to go back to their campuses and lead small groups in the fall.
One of those students was Nicole, and LifeCast turned out to be much more than what she had expected; for her, it was the catalyst for a transformed way of thinking.
Nicole had never led a small group before, and the insecurities tied to that inexperience went with her into LifeCast like a ball and chain. The weight was heavier than she expected, and Nicole soon realized she was going to have to let down many, many walls before she could truly begin to grow in the Lord. In those first few days, Nicole was challenged to explore who she was in Christ in a way that called out the lies she had believed about herself for so long.
“I started to talk through what I had been carrying – the baggage of trying to work for God’s approval and running from His love,” she says. “I was able to start unpacking my perceived identity in Christ.”
As the week went on, Nicole says God kept reminding her that she was loved, that she had been given community, and that He already knew her intimately. For the first time, Nicole was truly able to believe that God simply wanted her to be known and loved as a beloved daughter of His. Living in that truth completely shifted her identity and led her deeper into how to view her calling as a small group leader.
“Before LifeCast, I wanted to work for God,” she says. “After LifeCast, I still do; that desire to work, however, is no longer fueled by the feeling of insufficiency. It is fueled by God’s love and the knowledge that my identity is in Christ. I am not condemned, cast off or forgotten. I am loved, I am called near, and I am a child of God.
“LifeCast was a beautiful place for me to release the lies I have been believing and allow Jesus’ truth to sink into my heart.”