Kristen sat on a mini-fridge, behind the circle of students discussing the Bible. They invited her into the circle, but she preferred sitting in the back, observing, on her first night attending a Bible discussion at Georgia State University during her freshman year. Kristen shared her skepticism: “My friend had invited me to the Bible discussion before and I thought I should go, but I never did. Then when they started meeting in my friend’s room, I felt like God was bringing it right to me. I decided to give it a try. I liked the format of the discussion, where people felt free to ask questions about the Bible.”
Kristen started attending regularly and decided to go on a Spring Break outreach trip with the Navs group. She describes the experience: “I thought it was weird that people who didn’t know me cared so much about me and genuinely wanted to know who I was. God used the trip to open me up. Before I was standing with one foot in and one foot out. I made the decision to move forward in my commitment to God and change how I was living. I wanted to know God better, so I could trust Him with my life.”
Kristen started meeting weekly with Kathryn Evans, Collegiate Navs staff. Kathryn describes Kristen’s growth, saying, “She would absorb whatever topic we were talking about, taking notes and doing homework. She was interested in God’s Word and was eager to grow in her relationship with God. It was a joy to meet with her.”
The summer after her sophomore year, Kristen was part of the Nav’s Smoky Mountain Summer Training Program (STP) where she bonded with her summer teammates. Kristen shared, “We invested time in our relationships with each other. My biggest take away from the summer was solidifying my identity in Christ. When I would have doubts or start listening to the enemy, my teammates would remind me of my identity in Christ. My new found identity gave me confidence that I wouldn’t have had on my own.”
After the STP, Kristen was excited about what God was doing in her life. During her junior year she started co-leading a Bible study and discipling another young woman. Her schedule was full of heavy coursework, a job, and she ended up having to drop a class. While this was discouraging, the experience also reaffirmed her identity in Christ: “I felt like I had a made a mistake with taking on such a heavy course load, but realized that a mistake is just a mistake. God is in control, and my identity is in Him, not in my mistakes.”
Kathryn affirms the depth of Kristen’s relationship with God and her influence on those around her. “She has a very dynamic relationship with God, bringing Him into all aspects of her life, whether it is hard or joyful. Because she is so open about her relationship with God, her friends feel free to talk to her about faith and their struggles.”
While she was growing through the Navs ministry, Kristen also started going to church and eventually pursued church membership. She had been baptized when she was younger, but at that time she didn’t really know what it meant to be a Christian. As she talked with the pastor during the membership class, he suggested that she consider believer’s baptism, to make a public statement about her commitment to Christ.
Now as a senior, Kristen is able to pass on what she has learned and is modeling the foundation in Christ to other women she disciples.
Collegiate Navs has been on the Georgia State campus since 2013. It is in downtown Atlanta, so it is challenging to create a sense of community on the campus. Georgia State is a diverse school that includes students from a variety of socioeconomic groups, races, and family backgrounds. Many of the students have never heard the Gospel before. “If they didn’t know the Lord, many of these students would not naturally be in any relationship with each other. We are blessed with the diversity of our ministry,” shares Kathryn Evans, Collegiate Navs.