19 Jul Church Kids: Bible-bred Students Rediscovering a Passion for the Body of Christ
It would seem that Summer has beguiled us once again–just as we were learning to make the most of her slow, humid afternoons and long sun-lit evenings, she is preparing herself to slip away. Soon, we all will find ourselves seated in classrooms learning to identify geological strata and diagram complex sentences. There will be textbooks to purchase and schedules to memorize, and our hard-earned tans will begin to fade. However, I feel that the summer has forged in us a lasting affection for the local church. When we began our work in June, there were moments I felt I had been merely swept up into the function of the Church. However, after two months of meaningful participation and deepening relationships, I realize that I have been adopted into the family of the Church. All the laboring and serving with my brothers and sisters has been a blessing equal to the sacrifice. I feel that more than ever, I understand what it means to belong to a church.
I’m not the only one. In our weekly SummerLINK meetings, I have repeatedly heard my fellow interns say, “This is the first time I have ever been a part of a healthy church, and I’m falling in love with it.” Most of us have grown up in church, and yet, this summer we have rediscovered its purpose. We have been given responsibility and accountability–we have been made to feel like we are a valued and vital part of the body. Even in the daily rhythm of church operation, we have deepened our connection to our communities. While the second half of the summer has been lighter on planned events and structured gatherings, most of us have found ways to be at church throughout the week. It is not unusual to wander into the building at 9:00 on a week day and find a group of friends willing to serve in any way that is needed. I guess what I’m really saying is that we have begun gravitating toward the church, toward each other, toward sacrificial involvement. I say none of this to brag. Rather, I am overjoyed that God has used SummerLINK and our local churches to rekindle within us a love for an institution that many of us had grown disenchanted with. Many times throughout the summer, we have sat together and discussed the hurt and disease we have experienced in our churches in the past. And yet, this summer, it feels like God is redeeming that. It feels like He is making things new, just as He promised.
The Church at Blue Ridge has settled into their new building and continues to have guests visiting every week. The pastors there have been able to connect with people looking for help, looking for hope, looking for family. The Church at Greer Station continues to serve the city of Greer faithfully. Their worship leader, JC, has been a SummerLINK coordinator as well and has been a great blessing to all of the interns. The Church at Cherrydale is four weeks into a new study on the fruits of the Spirit–a series God has used in my heart and in the hearts of my brothers and sisters. He is certainly at work in Greenville, a place saturated with church culture but so apparently in need of the gospel.
I think we are all sad to see Summer go. It has been a wonderful season of growth and renewal. However, we know that new opportunities await us, and we look forward to what the school year will bring. We know God will continue to be at work in our churches and in our communities, and we are ready to participate with new-found commitment.