Over our time at Taylor University, our relationship with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit has deepened. Alongside that, Christ’s bride, embodied in the church, has become clearer to us. It is important to be actively involved in a church community beyond attending Sunday services.
In today's world that encourages quick transactional relationships, it is easy to underestimate the significance of a church community. However, the Bible is clear that our faith should extend far beyond the pews.
James 1:27 which speaks about serving orphans and widows in their affliction, underscores the importance of engaging our faith through actions. Active participation in a church allows us to do so. Our churches can be influential hubs for carrying out acts of kindness and compassion. Through various ministries, we can provide support to the vulnerable.
“I think a mark of a vibrant church is whether it is living out the message of Jesus Christ, and is involved in such things,” Nate Chu, director of International Student Services, said in reference to James 1:27.
Chu lives out his faith through his involvement at Upland Community Church and its programs, hosting meals at his home for male Taylor University students.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to encourage and support fellow believers as he said in Hebrews 10:24 concerning spurring each other on to good deeds. Beyond Sunday services, our church community is a place where we can uplift and hold each other accountable in our faith journeys. Immersion into church activities, such as small groups and service projects, allows us to build stronger fellowship, thus fostering spiritual growth and unity.
“I find a lot of joying in being a part of that body of believers,” junior Sydney Dolson said.
Dolson spoke of the members of a Chinese church in Muncie that she attends alongside Chinese students from Taylor. She is learning Mandarin, and feels blessed through her involvement in the church’s multigenerational congregation and fellow students who she is able to shower with love.
In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter reminds us that we are all uniquely gifted by God. Whether it's through teaching, music, hospitality or any other talents, active presence in church activities provides a platform to share our gifts. Our involvement in the church allows us to use these gifts to serve and be faithful stewards of God's grace.
“My experience with my local church in my early 20’s, when I was a college student and attended a Bible study, changed my perception of the church,” Lezlie McCrory, associate pastor at Urban Light Community Church said. “I wouldn’t be here without those relationships.”
Part of McCrory’s role at ULCC is mobilizing small groups of church members from various age groups and walks of life to help them create community outside their church. She leans into the blessings she received from her small groups and seeks to emulate them by organizing seasoned adults (55+ years), youth, men’s and women's groups at the church.
We believe that being assiduously involved in my church is not just a duty, but a privilege. Through our participation, we can live out the teachings of the Bible and make a meaningful impact on others' lives.
Beyond Sunday services, our churches can become a place of love, support and transformation. We can fulfill the biblical mandate to care for the vulnerable, encourage one another and use our gifts for God's glory. So, let us not limit our faith to Sundays alone; let us embrace the richness of a thriving church community and be a part of something greater than ourselves — seven days a week.