Ever the introvert, I’ve never found it easy to go out and fellowship. Yes, I love people and I enjoy company. But it’s always been a struggle going out with a group for extended periods of time. I’m the coffee shop girl who could sit there for hours by myself or with one other person… not the group of 20 going out for dinner or to an event.
But ever pushing me out of my comfort zone, the Lord really convicted me this past summer about how important community and fellowship are. So this summer, I surprised myself most of all and diligently worked to be more social. My Church does community groups, kind of like a Sunday school class but different. Groups meet throughout the week on a chosen day and either do discipleship or simply share a meal together. They sit in community.
I’d never gotten involved with a group for a variety of reasons during these past few years in college. My list of excuses was long. But this summer the Lord wouldn’t stop bugging me about it. So I stepped out of my bubble and found how special community is.
There are plenty of passages of scripture that points towards the value of community and fellowship between believers. As an introvert that was a continuous struggle. Whenever I’m with people, I give my all. But that leads to me drained and tired, needing to escape for a while and recharge. Looking back on these scriptures, its so clear to me now that that fellowship has the ability to reenergize you. It feeds your soul in ways you can’t do on your own. Community and fellowship does several things.
Community creates accountability.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. – James 5:16
Community isn’t a place of condemnation, but one where you come and lift one another up in struggles, in downfalls, in defeat. College will be full of times where you are tempted. You’re away from home, maybe for the first time. I’d be lying to suggest you’ll never give in. There have been plenty of times where I stumble and fall. But I’ve discovered the beauty of surrounding yourself with believers who recognize the unlimited, abounding grace God gives and therefore we are called to give. The accountability leads to grace and correction, which is crucial to growing in your walk with the Lord.
Community creates selflessness.
Be hospitable to one another without complaint. – 1 Peter 4:9
We are selfish people, often putting our needs before others. But intentionally being part of a community causes you to place others before yourself. That can be as simple as preparing a meal for someone, taking care of a need, or spending time in your busy schedule to pray for them. College can be hectic, your planner bursting at the seams with assignments and meetings and other things pining for your attention. Being in community is good practice to help you recognize the need to sit with people. Ever the worrier, there have been times people wanted to grab coffee and I panicked because I have so much to do. But then I’ve felt the Lord whisper that maybe I need that coffee talk just as much as they do.
Community creates encouragement.
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
Community builds people up, rejoicing in the good times and celebrating the goodness of God. You’ll have plenty of firsts in college, and some of those are incredibly exciting. It’s so good to have a group where you can go and celebrate together. While it’s important to have a group there for you in the valleys, never forget to include them in the peaks as well. That is what the Church is there for; to be there in every part of life.
Entering my senior year, I hope this is an encouragement to all you introverts who struggle with socializing. College is full of opportunities to meet new friends and join groups. But I hope you also seek that community of believers who will be along for the ride with you, in both the good times and bad.