Before GIGs were even called GIGs (short for Groups Investigating God, by the way), InterVarsity staff and students were leading this unique type of Bible study. They were sometimes called an Investigative Bible Study (IBD).
Also before GIGs were even called GIGs, there was a leader of an IBD who, ironically, did not yet know Jesus fully herself. How could someone who was not fully walking with Jesus lead others in a Bible study about him? This is Jen's story.
Growing up "Christian"
Jen Wojtysiak grew up in a Christian home. She attended church, Sunday school, and AWANA...she was even the district champion in quizzing for AWANA. Her parents were strict with Jen as she grew up, and so, during high school, Jen began caring more about what her friends thought than what her parents or God thought. She believed God was real and that Jesus died for her sins, but she didn’t know how to make that real in her life. She had a lot of questions and doubts about God and God’s goodness.
When Jen got to college, she lived a double life: She was a part of the InterVarsity chapter, but partied on the weekends. That was what all the “Christians” she met in the dorms were doing, and she wanted to fit in.
Adding further to her conflicting feelings and actions, Jen had professors who discouraged her faith.
In her freshman biology class, her professor openly made fun of anyone who believed in creation, saying things like “no one with half a brain would still believe in creation.”
Her psychology professor, though he invested in Jen's academic potential, left her disheartened. Jen wanted to get her PhD in psychology and influence students in the future, but the professor advised Jen to give up her faith. He told Jen she could go far in academics and didn’t want to see her “waste her life chasing religion.”
Jen was confused.
Investigating God for Herself
Thankfully, the conversations went differently in her freshman dorm.
Almost every night, Jen had conversations with other students on her floor about faith and religion. No one had all the answers. Everyone simply shared their thoughts.
It was also around this time that Jen’s InterVarsity staff worker asked her to get together every week for a discipleship meeting. She also asked if Jen would be willing to host a Bible study for non-Christians. Jen agreed to host the IBD in her dorm, and four people said they would attend.
Two things happened as Jen hosted her first GIG...
First, by studying the life of Jesus in the book of John, Jen met Jesus herself. She saw that she needed to make her faith her own. Being a Christian wasn’t about following the rules and attending church, it was about a real relationship with a Jesus who loved her and had a plan for her life.
Second, she caught a vision for leading others to the same conclusion. Jen found purpose for the rest of her time on campus, as well as the rest of her life. She spent the next five years invested in her chapter as a chapter leader and then as volunteer staff. Then, much to the dismay of her professors, Jen said yes to campus ministry with InterVarsity. Fifteen years later, now serving as Area Director for InterVarsity in South Central Wisconsin, Jen is still in love with Jesus and his mission on campus.
When have you not been the most equipped evangelistically, yet God still used you to do a great work? Tell us in a comment below.