One Friday morning, three Belmont sophomores with a passion for chasing God met in Belmont’s iconic Bell Tower with 20 other women who were interested in starting a campus-wide Bible study. The group named the study “Delight” and made it a regular occurrence throughout the rest of the semester. They established a mission of building community that fosters vulnerability and transforms stories, and they worked hard to create an environment that allowed for honest and transparent discussion. The study expanded beyond the Bible and soon, the women began cooking dinner together, serving hot chocolate to the homeless together and learning to live more like Christ together. By the end of their sophomore year, the group of three women grew to nearly 100 who shared the same passion for Christ.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Delight Ministries is now the only nationwide college ministry for women. There are chapters of the organization on over 80 different college campuses across the U.S., built of more than 400 campus leaders and 4,000 members. Delight Ministries co-founders and 2015 Belmont University graduates Mackenzie Wilson and Mackenzie Baker, who were among the original group of three women, now run an office on Blair Blvd as the organization’s headquarters. They handle their own content creation, marketing and even host interns that plan leadership conferences and events for all chapters.
“Delight started with three friends who simply wanted to start a Bible Study together,” Wilson said. “We had the idea to create a place for women, especially freshman, to come and connect with a Christ-centered community. We desired to surround ourselves with a group of women who could point us back to Jesus time and time again and who we could have intentional conversations with about the ways God was moving in our hearts and lives. Today, we still have an awesome Delight chapter at Belmont with an amazing student leadership team. Our Belmont chapter is our founding chapter and one that so many of our chapters from around the country look to for inspiration and guidance.”
Belmont Delight is run by seven students, lead by junior faith and social justice major Hunter Wade. “I heard about Delight the first week of my freshman year at Belmont, and I was almost immediately in love with the ministry and their passion for stories and cultivating genuine, deep community,” Wade recalled. “The leaders at the time were so kind and wonderful, and I jumped right in to attending Delight that first semester. Even though I did not really know anyone there, I continued coming back week after week because the Holy Spirit taught me something every single time.”
As the leaders of Belmont’s chapter, Wade and the other six women organize the group’s weekly meetings, worship nights, service events, leadership team meetings and community events while maintaining an open, vulnerable and safe space for members to learn about God. According to Wade, one of the most transforming aspects of being involved in Delight is the community that has been built on campus.
“These women have become my very best friends. They are the first people I call when I need prayer, they hold me accountable to be who I am created to be, they’ve held my hand when I have cried as I have experienced tragedies throughout my time in college. They are constantly pushing me to the heart of Jesus through their actions, through their words, through their constancy in my life and through their love. And that is what Delight is about, this community with women centered around Jesus that changes lives through doing this life together.”
As for Wilson and Baker, both women intend to continue growing Delight as their main career focus with dreams of having a chapter on every college campus across the country. “Both Kenzie (Baker) and I would love to continue to work for Delight and grow this ministry. We both have a passion for speaking and sharing our story, so we hope that there are more opportunities for that in our future. We love getting to sit down with college women and help them to find a more intimate relationship with the Lord during this crazy period of life. I think if we get to keep doing that, then we’ll both be fully content and happy with our careers.”
Wilson and Baker are thankful for all of the Belmont faculty and staff who supported them during the initial years of their ministry with Delight.
“There’s something about the atmosphere at Belmont that I think inspires students to think outside of the box, to notice gaps and to think creatively on how to fill them,” Wilson said. “From the beginning of Delight, we had so much support from the University Ministries department. They truly came alongside of us and helped us to grow and walk forward in where God was calling Delight at Belmont as well as where God was calling Kenzie and I individually.”
For more information on Delight Ministries, its purpose and its current chapters, visit its website.