With a triple major in youth ministry, biblical studies and theology, it is a wonder that sophomore Mike Montgomery is able to start a worship group amidst his heavy workload. Praise and Worship Session is a youth group-inspired worship service that Montgomery started with a group of friends three weeks into his first year at Eastern.
“I started PAWS because my friends and I missed those feelings we had with youth groups, where you get more praise and worship and a good combination of the word as well,” he said.
Montgomery and his friends meet up on Sparrowk’s second floor lounge where he plays the guitar, sings a couple of worship songs and gives a message. Every week, after scripture is read, Montgomery gives a challenge of the week that motivates members to live out a scripture verse in their everyday lives.
“Each week after the challenge was given we would meet the following week to talk about how we were able to live out those challenges led by scripture,” Montgomery said.
All was well with the group until funding disagreements set the group back for a semester. “We had to stop PAWS in the fall semester due to a lack of funding and a lot of mix-ups with proper documentation for the group, but we were able to sort everything out and PAWS is back,” Montgomery said.
Getting proper documentation and funding took Montgomery most of the spring semester of his first year to complete, but that did not discourage him from continuing on with a group he felt the campus needed.
Now PAWS is back and better than ever, with one of its first meetings of the fall semester drawing a crowd of 35 people. PAWS now has two sessions; the first session is the regular PAWS meeting which meets in Gough Great Room every Monday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The super sessions, which fit a lot more people in the room and discuss a wide variety of topics, meet the first Saturday of every month at different locations from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
At the end of the fall semester, fewer people attended the meetings and Montgomery understood the reasons why.
“I understand that a lot of students have a lot of studying to do and work,” he said. “Sometimes I have the same problem. But I don’t look at PAWS as how many people attend. I look at it as a time to worship God.”
One thing Montgomery wants people to receive from PAWS is fulfillment.
“I want people to leave PAWS feeling changed,” he said. “I want them to know how what they learned can be applied in their lives.”