Mackenzie Wilson and Mackenzie Baker were driving to Texas as they spoke on the phone with me, on their way to meet with five chapters of the women’s college, Christ-centered community they started- Delight Ministries. What started as a few friends, meeting their sophomore year at Belmont University in a small little chapel under the bell tower, has turned into a quick-spreading, nationwide series for women to foster vulnerability and transform stories.
Now college grads pursuing their dream full-time, the co-founders looked back on how far their little community has come. “Three years ago we would always say, ‘How amazing would it be if after we graduated we got to keep doing this on a bigger scale?’ And that is exactly what we are doing,” they said. “We found that, in college, you can find some of the best people, but you don’t always talk about your religious thoughts. We wanted to be intentional about our faith, to be vulnerable and to learn from each other’s stories in a real, raw, honest setting. Delight is intentional about Christ-centered community. There is a gap in the common women’s ministry, and it was put on our hearts to reach out to other schools to give more students the opportunity to be surrounded by women who encourage them and challenge their faith.“
Mac Wilson handles content and marketing, designs content and curriculum and maintains the Delight website and social media accounts, along with all of the creative side of things. Kenz Baker is the relationship director, coordinating new campuses starting the chapter process.
The Delight curriculum is founded on stories. The 12 personal testimonies come from the members, sharing what they have gone through in college and what God has done in their lives in their four years, whether its depression, loneliness or something else, and what they have learned through it. Each story has a foundational scripture, which is what the chapters study each week. The women are encouraged to be transparent, something they do not get from the outside world. The community is real, formed around what is really going on it the members’ lives, sharing those stories and remembering that God is good through it all. The girls don’t have to wear a mask like they have it all together.
Another important way the community makes sure it maintains and sustains the relationships within the group is to have weekly, one-on-one coffee dates. Intentionality. Taking the breakfast hour to start their day off on the right foot: in an open, warm setting where they can be heard and loved. The group pulls names from a hat every week and makes a point to build deeper connections within their broader network.
The thing they say really separates Delight apart from other college ministries is that most others tend not to encourage leadership and ownership as much. Delight, however, is a place that all women are called to be leaders. With more than 40 women sharing their devotions for the curriculum and blog, students are the ones wanting to expand the ministry to their own campus. When the founders and their friends would go home for Christmas and summer breaks, they would tell their hometown friends about Delight, and the passion spread. “The girls are listening to God and are taking ownership in it. That’s why we are growing,” said Mac.
For example, the first leader at Hanover University in Indiana, an incredible leader named Mal, signed up to lead through the website. Her bio mentioned that while she was passionate about having this type of community at her campus, she was incredibly nervous, questioning her calling and feeling inadequate. Mac and Kenz continually prayed for and encouraged Mal, skyping with her and walking her through the process. At the beginning Mal considered transferring universities because of her anxiety, but through her perseverance and prayer, Mal was able to recruit a huge turnout and what the Delight founders described as “the coolest stories” coming from this chapter. At the end of the first semester, Mal received Hanover’s Emerging Leader Award. This is simply one example of how Delight is celebrating women and helping them step forward in their callings from God to be great leaders and change lives.
The “Mackenzies” are excited to watch this community continue to grow in the next few years. “From the beginning, God has just blown our expectations out of the water. Soon, we would love to attend conferences, continue to expand and just always be open to what the Lord has for us,” they said. “Our biggest dream is that every girl in college would be able to invest in a Christ-centered community, and for Delight to be that for them.”