Donut in hand, Leah Ball took off her shoes and leaned back, legs perched up on her chair. Over 60 girls circled her as she read out of her pink prayer book and joked about how she wrote all of the discussion questions as the girls were walking in.

“We have a saying here: ‘to lead with vulnerability,’” said Ball. “I think this about sums that up.”

This was the first meeting for Delight, the new ministry organization on Miami’s campus. This worship group separates itself from others by being a “women-centered community,” according to the student worship chair Carrie Bantz.

Delight started at Belmont University, and now has groups on over 100 different campuses across the country. Ball originally got involved with the organization at Belmont University before transferring to Miami at the beginning of her junior year.

“I went from a general member to a leader, and it was a big adjustment,” said Ball.

Now a senior, Ball realized that one of the first things she missed about her old school was her church community.

“I was struggling a lot, I didn’t have a good group of women who shared the same values as me,” said Ball, in regards to Miami’s campus. “I realized that we don’t have any ministry geared just towards women.”

Now, Ball has been able to recruit eight of her friends onto the leadership team, and the group’s kickoff meeting was last Wednesday. Even though Mega Fair’s cancellation seemed to have a negative effect on many new organizations, Delight was able to use their social media presence to secure 76 new members.

“My personal goal is for every single woman on campus to receive an invitation somehow,” said Ball. “We are really focused on community, and building strong friendships and genuine connections.”

Unlike many Christian organizations on campus, Delight leads its discussion through stories and testimonies. Each girl has a book that they bring to the meetings. In these books are stories written by college students across the country about problems and doubts that they have had with their faith, and how they overcame them.

While Delight is separate from other ministry groups, Ball hopes to work more with them in the future.

“We do realize that there are awesome organizations on campus,” said Ball. “We want them to work together with us.”

For example, Bantz, the worship chair for Delight, is also a worship leader for another Christian organization on campus, Cru. Both her and Ball want to plan a worship night that will unite the two groups.

“I got brought in by a friend, who told me about Delight’s mission,” said Bantz. “I love the way that we talk with women and try to create a vulnerable space for them to feel safe.”

This emphasis on creating a safe space for women could not have come at a better time. Bantz hopes that Delight can be seen as a safe haven for any girls who feel lost or like they are struggling, especially in light of the #MeToo movement.

“I think there are a lot of girls that are hurting, and there is a lot of brokenness,” said Bantz. “I want to tell that girl who feels broken that there is healing to be done, and it can only happen once you let that brokenness out.”

Delight plans to take its ministry beyond just worship sessions by participating in service projects throughout the year. Next week, they are holding a feminine product drive, and are encouraging women to bring donations to the meeting.

All in all, both Ball and Bantz want to create a space for women to be “vulnerable” — that is, a space where the pressures to be perfect and to hide all weaknesses can fade away.

“We want to foster community through the vulnerability of women,” said Ball. “We want to surround each other with women who are real and genuine, and are there to love on them when they are down.”

mintona2@miamioh.edu

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