“I felt like God was calling me to do something deeper to bring him more glory, and I didn’t know what that was.”
Tori Reffit, a sophomore education major at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, was searching for an answer. Over the period of a few weeks, she joined in prayer with some of her closest Christian friends and trusted God to show her the way. Then one day, she received a phone call from her good friend, Autumn Lewis, who had an idea.
What about starting a chapter of Delight at Shawnee? Tori immediately felt this was exactly what God wanted her to do. They quickly contacted the nationwide ministry devoted to serving college women across the nation to find out how to bring Delight to SSU.
After completing all the paperwork and required steps they needed to form a new chapter, they organized the group with a leadership team of seven and set the date for their first meeting on January 23 in the West Ballroom of the Morris University Center. Word began to spread, and 50 young ladies showed up on the first night for the group’s launch, and they have continued to meet every Wednesday at 8:45 p.m. except for this week since the university is closed for Spring Break.
What happens at an SSU Delight meeting?
The meetings begin with the girls sitting in a circle or “campfire atmosphere,” and Tori said they sing and worship together and sometimes watch an introductory video that goes along with the evening’s lesson. They spend the first 10-15 minutes talking to each other and building relationships. Then they break off into small groups where they have the opportunity to open up to each other and form stronger bonds.
morris university center
Delight is not limited to just those who attend Shawnee State. High school students are also welcome along with girls who go to other universities, although all members of the leadership team are from SSU. Besides Tori and Autumn, this team includes Taylor McQuay, Jordan Keys, Bekah Roth, Kaeli Easterday, and Amber Bledsoe. These ladies meet each week on Mondays to talk about Wednesday’s upcoming lesson, discuss life in general, and grow closer together through Christ. They want to foster and nurture the girls who are coming to the group so they can pour into them.
“A lot of girls have been reaching out to us,” Tori said. “We are really encouraged.” She recently met with a girl who had talked to her about reading the Bible and how to understand it. They met to study God’s word, and before they finished, Tori walked her through the plan of salvation and led her to Christ.
The national Delight organization provides its chapters with books that can be downloaded through an app that provides personal testimonies given by other college girls from across the country. Their stories focus on a number of relatable themes such as inner beauty, outer beauty, moving away from home, and experiencing a new phase of life in college. The app also offers devotions and other resources.
“We here at Delight are big believers in stories. Stories that move and inspire, take our breath away, stop us in our tracks and change us forever,” states the organization’s website at delightministries.com. “Delight was created as a platform for college women to not only share their stories but also as a place to allow God to write stories more beautiful than we could ever even fathom.”
The “For the Girl” portion of the website offers a dating personality quiz, a podcast and information about the group’s current tour at eight universities across the country.
The national group was originally formed by two girls at Belmont University, a private Christian liberal arts university in Nashville, Tenn. Now with over 100 chapters across the country, Delight provides college women with the tools and resources to launch, grow and sustain Christ-centered communities on college campuses. They create curriculum and resources that tell the real stories of college women chasing the heart of God.
What do young women have to do in order to join the SSU Delight? They can just show up on Wednesdays at 8:45 p.m. while school is in session. “Walk right in, and you will be welcomed,” Tori said.
As for the group’s future, she says the leadership team hopes the group will continue to grow. “We definitely want to mentor girls—for me, that has been amazing,” she said. “We want to learn about God, learn about scripture, and continue the small-group atmosphere so the girls can be real. It’s okay to be broken, okay to be real and have struggles, and we all go through it.”
She adds that the group is a great way to make new friends, and they hope to get involved in some volunteer work in the future such as helping with the local homeless population, preparing love baskets and gift packages, and conducting food drives.