the sweet gift of biblical community - SPOTLIGHT
by marisa williams
When I went to college, I stayed in the town where I grew up. I was the girl that stayed. The problem with being the girl that stayed is that most of the girls then would be the girls that didn’t. Only one friend, not even an incredibly close one, was the only one that also stayed. She and I have grown close in recent years but she was just someone I knew I could sit with on Sunday mornings if we happened to be at the same service.
ll of my other friends left. Every. Last. One. If they didn’t, they dropped off the face of the earth and we fell out of touch. I wasn’t walking in a relationship with God I knew I had in my heart and because of that I was lost. A zombie. In September of my freshman year of college, my grandmother died. Shortly thereafter I joined a bible study through a campus ministry. I was only connected because I contacted one of my old high school Sunday school teachers.
n Sunday mornings, in college ministry, I really didn’t know anyone that well. I sat at a table of all girls because I knew we had our gender in common. That was pretty much it. Jesus and being a girl. I vaguely knew the older women that would lead the tables; I think I babysat their kids at one time or another. I was too anxious to seek out further friendship with these girls and no one made an effort to get to know me better.
his isn’t meant to blame them, I’m sure my shyness probably came off as someone who was unapproachable. I talked a lot because I have no problem speaking intellectually but actually making friends with these women that, I realized now I was talking at and not to, I really stunk at. I also had this terrifying fear of making friends with guys my age. I don’t know why. I had a really solid group of guy friends, technically they were my only friends in eighth grade, but in all honestly I was burned pretty badly by them. It ruined being able to have guy friends. You had friends that were girls and the only companionship you could have with a boy was with a significant other. It was like that for quite some time.
ast-forward to the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I found out my college ministry offered a summer co-ed bible study. Well that’s new. I had never been in anything other than an all-female bible study. I was in an all-female one in high school and was also in an all-female bible study in college. The prospect of interacting with members of the opposite sex in this way was almost unheard of to me. How would I? Was there some kind of special day in “how to be a girl” school that I missed? Twenty-year-old Marisa was very very emotionally immature so keep that in mind if this all sounds crazy. It was.
hat summer was AWESOME. I actually made friends. Guys and girls alike More people would say hi to me as we crossed paths at church and I would sit with more than just the same group of girls that barely knew. I would go out to lunch with people and they knew me, talked to me. The best part? This was only the beginning.
am now involved in a co-ed bible study during the year with my church. It started last fall and it’s been great. It’s been such a different atmosphere but a growing atmosphere for me. God has been so so good to me in this time. It reminds me that we are not biblically meant to be alone. I am introverted and recharge by spending quality time by myself but we are not meant to do life alone. The way we get past things is through brothers and sisters in Christ sitting with us as we cry just as Job’s friends did in the beginning chapters of the book of Job and also to direct us and process with us sometimes hard life decisions.
It reminds me of the verse in Mark where Jesus begins His ministry. When He calls up his disciples He says, “‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” Not only is this Jesus inviting His disciples to do life with Him but He is doing so with the intention of them going out, sharing the Gospel, living it out, and bringing others in to walk alongside them. One of the very first things Jesus commanded was biblical community. It is so special and important and I’ve seen the fruit of it in my life.
f you are struggling to find it where you are, be patient. If you crave it in this way, that’s good! God will honor that! A few things I would suggest in seeking it out are:
*Going to a guest connect at your church if they have one.
*Get plugged into a local church if you aren’t!
*If you’re in college, look to see if there are campus ministries on your campus. I’m sure there are. A few I suggest are Cru, the Baptist Campus Ministry, and Reformed University Fellowship. Those are all co-ed. If you want an all female bible study/ministry, Delight Ministries is great!
*If you’re struggling to connect and you just started going some place, stick it out! I was at the same church for close to 6 years before I found this community. They all pretty much had to move to my city over the course of those 6 years. God’s timing is so good.
Thanks so much to Allison for letting me guest-blog for her! I hope you enjoyed learning about my experience with biblical community! My social media links and blog are linked below!
About The Spotlight Author
My name is Marisa Williams, I am a college senior studying Creative Writing. I have been blogging on and off for two years and writing since I was eight. I enjoy coffee, learning more about Jesus, and watching Gilmore Girls. You can find me at marisamay18 on Instagram, marisamay2018 on Twitter, and on my blog https://marisamay.wordpress.com