Some of us relish the time we spend with our families, and there are others who live miles away from loved-ones. Some individuals have never been part of a family unit. Whatever the situation, having family members or people to share dreams with, make memories and go through life together, is a special blessing.
Within the last couple of months, many of us have moved to a new city or country for a number of reasons. It could be to start a new job or attend university. Whatever the reason, living away from home for a period of time can be a mixed experience of excitement, nerves, uncertainty and loneliness. When I started uni, the first few days were great, and I didn’t think much about home. As time went on I remember feeling so home-sick that I called home almost everyday.
This may not have been everyone’s experience. But if you feel out of your depth and afraid about your new environment, you don’t have to remain that way. Finding a church is a great way to meet new people, serve God and grow in your walk with Christ at the same time. Being part of a church definitely helped my faith and I’ve made some great friendships. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to feel comfortable talking to people at church. Ask for God’s boldness, and he’ll give it to you. Join a small group, because it’s in these intimate gatherings that you share life experiences and learn more about God. God created us for community, and when we fellowship with other believers the *Holy Spirit is present.
In the book of Acts the disciples worshiped and served together, and they even went their separate ways. But they had mutual support and friendships that went deeper than everyday conversations. Friendships come in many shapes and sizes, and each one has its own quality. Of course church isn’t the only place for building friendships . But, when you join a church, aside from the countless pros , your friends become family. These family members in Christ won’t be perfect and neither will you; you’ll share moments of laughter, encouragement and sometimes pain. Most importantly, the friends who know your vulnerabilities and still love you; the deep conversation friends and the wise friends; these are people who do and share life with you. They bear with you and forgive you (Colossians 3:13).These are the friends ‘who stick closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24)
We’re influenced by who we spend time with, and I’m not saying that we should live in a Christian bubble- I have some very kind and good unbelieving friends, who offer sound advice when needed. I’ve made great memories with these people. However, there are moments when you can’t call home and you need some biblical advice. Jesus is the ultimate source of guidance and joy. But He does place certain friends in our lives who can give biblical counsel in times of need and add to our joy.
Some of us may have had a bad experience with church, and the last thing we want to do is step into one again. The pain is raw. It’s gone deep beyond the surface. But God is greater than your pain, and He can heal it if you give it to Him. Not some, but all of it. Life seems easier when we choose to keep to ourselves. However, when you willingly step out unashamed of your weaknesses, you begin to make life-long connections with people.
I pray that God surrounds you with wonderful friends from your church. I pray that He leads and directs you on your journey of finding a church. Amen.
*The Holy Spirit is God’s presence and it is part of the Trinity. People experience different reactions to the Holy Spirit (e.g. crying, shaking, feeling a warm sensation).
By Chermaine Sowah