In my mind, I am a seriously fantastic runner.
I stride around the town of Reading, my long limbs propelling me forward as I knock off kilometre after kilometre. Personal bests tumble, sweat pours from my brow, and the endorphin rush leaves me feeling sky-high.
Except that all of that is a lie.
I huff and I puff around the loop I’ve settled on, never quite taking the turn I could take to extend the run by another couple of kilometres.
The reason I am, by my own admission, a quite terrible runner, is because I don’t do any of the things I should do in order to be a better runner.
Eating right? Kebab please. Run tonight, even though it’s raining? Netflix and a cuppa sounds inviting. If I want to be a better runner, I know that I have to do the right things, and I would see results.
If you’ve found a church in your first few weeks of university - amazing! Well done for putting yourself out there and finding somewhere you’re happy to call home. Now comes the harder part.
Settling in a church means a lot more than just going there every Sunday.
In the book of Acts, we read that “church” refers not to a building or a place of meeting, but rather, the members.
“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.” - Acts 2:46-47
I have good news for you - YOU are a member of Christ’s Church. You’re in! Great work.
And now that you’ve found somewhere to worship with other members of Christ’s Church whilst you’re at uni, it’s important to consider what will help you flourish and grow now that you’ve found a new community.
I want to issue you two challenges here:
1) Join a small group
2) Start serving
Small group - maybe you’re already in one! If so, fantastic. Smaller groups of people who meet in homes to open the Bible and live missional-focused lives together are truly the best places for you to be as a student. It might be that the small group you join is composed of other students, or a wider age range, but the important thing is that you are in one and attend it regularly.
You’ll be discipled, convicted, and loved by the people you meet with. You won’t regret joining a small group!
As much as you’ll be fed into by your church, church is a place for you to serve too. In serving, we live out the fullest understanding of what it means to be church, as we just read in Acts 2. Everyone brought something of themselves.
What could you do? Teas and coffees? In the band? On the door? Kids? Youth? Your church will have all of these and more available to you to offer yourself to in service.
And as you serve, the more people in the community you will meet and get to know.
This first term presents to you an amazing opportunity to get plugged in with your new church.
Just like a runner, do the right things, and you will see the results.