When Griffith Brown ’17 realized resident assistants needed a place to encourage one another, he reached out to fellow Simpson RA Eli West ’17. Brown soon learned that West shared his concerns.
Three years ago, the two began Frontlines, a ministry for RAs and any other dorm resident who has a heart for other students in dorms. Today, about 15 people attend Frontlines every week.
“Doing ministry in the dorm context is a super great field, but it can be exhausting,” Brown said. “Eli and I felt that very intensely. We randomly reached out out to each other and realized that we had both been thinking and praying about that.”
Brown said very little support existed for Bible studies across campus, and he wanted Frontlines to be a place to help fellow leaders and provide accountability.
Brown, who works for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, now serves as an advisor to the study, which is led by senior Emily Barnum and sophomores Michelle Reid and Jadon Lippincott.
A former Olds RA who is now the head RA in Mauck, Barnum shared many of Brown’s concerns.
“It can be tiring and lonesome to lead a study without encouragement and accountability,” she said. “Frontlines has great people with the same goal in the dorm context, and I always walk away feeling really encouraged.”
She said the group is focused on scripture and prayer, with time for one-on-one discussion. This semester, the group has been discussing the Gospels and Jesus’ relationship with his disciples.
Barnum said Frontlines has helped her in providing a space for her to reflect, and impacted how she relates to others. She said she also feels less exhausted in loving others.
Reid got to know Barnum as a resident of Olds last year, where she is currently an RA and leads a Bible study. She said taking on a leadership role has been both fulfilling and exhausting.
“It’s good to be in a community and understand what God is doing on campus,” Reid said. “Any chance to have people who are older speak wisdom into your life is invaluable.”
She said Frontlines allows her to ask fellow leaders about ideas for her dorm.
Frontlines meetings also emphasize establishing new dorm ministry opportunities. Brown said he and others who attend helped start a prayer group in Whitley, and have been praying about the new dormitory, which will have room for 56 students beginning in the next school year.
“We’ll ask, ‘What can we do to think and pray and be intentional about this new dorm?’” Brown said. “Or we’ll notice Christians doing Bible studies and not reaching out to non-Christians and ask, ‘How can we encourage this?’”
Frontlines meets every Monday at 5:00 p.m. in the Formal Lounge. The leaders encouraged anyone who feels a passion for dorm ministry to visit.
“We’ve experienced how tough it is, and we realized couldn’t do it by ourselves,” Brown said. “We want to be a resource for people who also couldn’t do it by themselves to be encouraged and supported.”