Lanie Patten, Katylin McCallum, and Abbie Maynard serve as Shoreline leaders for a small group of 15 high school sophomores. Since sixth grade, the girls in the group have grown in their relationships with Christ and in friendships with each other. For the leaders, each week is a reminder that following Christ is equally as important at 16 as it is at 26!
As leaders, what have you seen change in your group over the years?
Lanie: “When the girls entered seventh grade, we saw them begin to apply God’s Word to their lives every day. They practice authenticity and vulnerability through confession and accountability with one another. Over the years, they have grown in their willingness to be open and share with one another.”
Katylin: “We get to watch the girls encourage one another, share Scripture, and remind each other they’re not alone in their struggles. Their eagerness is so evident, energizing, and contagious. It’s great to be around them, watch them grow up, and see how the Lord has worked in their lives.”
How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your group of students?
Abbie: “The Lord has been faithful in giving each girl a spirit that desires to know about Jesus. High school offers many distractions, and they are still so committed. The seriousness of their faith is so motivating!”
Lanie: “Although we’ve doubled in size since their eighth-grade year, I’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness in this group regardless of attendance. He is in it when we’re small and when we’re large. As we continue to pursue the Lord together, we continue to see His faithfulness in the group’s consistency and commitment.”
As students, what have you learned from your leaders through your time in Wake and Shoreline?
Emmy McGee: “They’ve taught me how to be intentional with others. All three of our leaders are so intentional with each one of us throughout the week. They’ve taken time to get to know us. Seeking their advice and counsel is so much sweeter because they know who we are and what we struggle with. I’ve also learned about being a servant leader through their example of being a servant to Christ and others.”
How has the Lord prepared you for high school with this group?
Jenna McClendon: “We are learning how to live our lives faithfully, read the Bible, and how to be independent in our own faith. It’s really special.”
Lily McCuen: “There are so many kids who don’t have an individual faith, or they believe just what their parents believe. After joining a small group, I gained a clear understanding of the gospel and realized I wanted to honor the Lord with my life. In high school, if you’re faced with challenges and you don’t know what you want, you will fall into temptations and peer pressure.”
Kaitlin Swann: “I play competitive soccer and it’s a completely different world than our private Christian school. I’m surrounded by believers and nonbelievers on my team, and because this group desires to honor the Lord, it has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone to share the gospel with my teammates.”
Why would you encourage other students to join a small group?
Paige Dzina: “It is a great way to have accountability. You’re surrounded by girls that will love, encourage, and help you when you’re struggling.”
Lily: “It’s been so awesome to have people a few steps further ahead in life investing into our lives. They can see life in perspective because they’ve been there before. They remind us that bringing everything to the light brings freedom in Christ. We’re welcomed, accepted, and held accountable each week.”
Emmy: “It’s a great opportunity to have such awesome leaders invest in our lives. They’ve become friends and role models who know me, have gone through what I’m currently going through, and point me to Christ. Why would you not want that? Also, it is a lot of fun!”
Leaders, why would you encourage someone else to lead a small group?
Abbie: “It is the most humbling thing to watch our students walk with Jesus. They have helped me fall more in love with Him. He has already worked wonders in their hearts, even at their young age. I can’t say enough how they’ve helped me in my personal walk with Christ.”
Lanie: “I don’t only want to share the gospel; I want to be in their lives, teach them what I’m learning, and hear what they’re learning. I didn’t have this experience in high school or middle school, so I just want to help them find more joy and fewer scars in a life dedicated to Christ.”
Interested in discipling and encouraging the next generation of faithful Christ-followers? Serve as a Watermark Students small group leader and learn more at watermark.org/servestudents.