At TFC, community is inherent in your day-to-day life, especially if you live on campus. For four years I lived among girls who believed in the same God as me. If someone on the hall was struggling, there were plenty of people around to lift them up in prayer and keep them accountable. I have to give a shout-out to Bell 2A and the ladies I lived with there: SJ (my roomie), WILD Wigal, Amburr Dee, Mer, and Mikoko. And yes, those are our awesome rock band nicknames from our kickin' band, The Southern Bells (only on Guitar Hero, but we say it counts...and I was Abster). These five ladies were such an encouragement during my senior year. They are people that I will love and treasure always.
Barnabas groups, TFC's mandatory small groups, were a huge blessing, as well. Sometimes students (me included!) lose sight of the importance of Barney groups (as they are affectionately called). My junior and senior years I belonged to Mrs. Debby's group, and at the end of every meeting I left encouraged and uplifted. The simple act of smiling, laughing, crying, and praying with four or five like-minded women never failed to put my struggles in perspective.
The bottom line is, at TFC it was easy to live in community with believers.
Now I am living back home and I don't have that "automatic" community any longer. The summer was a bad time for me community-wise. I saw many friends and family members during trips for weddings, etc., but when I would get home I wouldn't do anything. My daily activities included getting up too late, watching movies and TV, laying around, eating, and staying up too late. One or two days of that type of living is a great break, but day after day it becomes unhealthy. I wasn't spending time with God enough and my problems were getting way out of proportion since I didn't have anyone around to bounce thoughts off of. Towards the end of the summer I realized something important: I need community!
Yes, I need community, and so do you. So does everyone! I can't take the credit for this revolutionizing idea- right now my church is pushing the idea of community. I attend a very large church in metro-Atlanta, so you can't necessarily get that sense of community on a Sunday morning. They have always been intentional about encouraging people to join small groups. On Tuesday night I went to the college program because they sent an e-mail saying that they were going to do small group sign-ups. If you know me well at all, you know that I hate stepping out of my comfort zone and going places alone, especially places where everyone else is with people. I was truly dreading going to church that night because I knew I would be sitting by myself, and that makes me feel very uncomfortable. That should tell you how important community is, though. Even though I was totally freaked out to go to the service, I still went because I knew that I needed to be in a small group.
Well, I survived the uncomfortableness (hooray!), and now I belong to a small group. I'm very hopeful about it; we meet for the first time this Thursday, so I'll let you know how it goes. :] It takes a while to build the type of community I enjoyed in Bell 2A, but I am excited to make new friends. This verse is one that kind of kicked me in the rear and made me realize I need to be in a small group. Maybe it will encourage you, too. :]
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 4:44-47, describing the believers after Pentecost-Abby :]
Bell 2A, represent!