Last September, I came to London as a bright eyed first year student. Already after my first week, I felt at home. However, the one thing that stopped me from fully settling was finding my place at church..
Having been labelled as “the biggest extrovert” by countless people, the amount of churches in London overwhelmed me - there are so many wonderful churches to visit, so many Christians to meet! I would love to be the perfect Christian that says “I daily prayed about finding the right church”.. but I didn’t. Although I started to regularly attend The Globe Church, I didn’t quite give my full focus and passion towards my relationship with God nor church. It momentarily stopped becoming my priority, which was very quickly replaced with me and “I”.
I was anxious about university work.
I had FOMO* if I missed out on a social.
I was not satisfied with how things were going.
By Christmas I realised I wasn’t really putting true effort into relations with the lovely Christian students God placed in my life. The Globe Church took me in, but I didn’t quite treat it like my church family.
AND THEN! A MESSAGE! From no one else but Sarah Tingley.
“We would love for you to come to our first student weekend away! Would you be interested?”
As I previously said, I get massive FOMO. Of course I had to go! Spoiler alert: It was the best decision I made in my first year of uni.
During the three days away, we studied the book of Malachi. Malachi offered no identifying information about himself, apart from the fact his role was being a prophet who delivered God’s message to God’s people. Not even his father’s name – that’s bigger than a British person not bothering to identify whether they’re from the South or the North (I’m actually a proud Midlands person)! Malachi’s message was for the Israelites to realise their need and necessity for God’s salvation. God greatly challenged me with each study. My priority should not be my own desires, but God’s truth, peace and presence. Like Malachi, I wanted to forget my worldly context, my nationality and simply, myself. Instead, I wanted to replace it with the best identity I received 2000 years ago: a Child of God. Isn’t that an amazing title?
Malachi came along at a time when the people were struggling to believe that God loved them. The people focused on their unfortunate circumstances and refused to account for their own sinful deeds. Although I didn’t doubt God’s faithfulness, I did refuse to acknowledge my inability to love Him without the help of His grace.
“Are life changing Bible studies all you did at the weekend away? Sounds too intellectual for me” Fear not, so much more happened!
I got to spend quality time with the other Globe students, which are now my dear friends. All weekend we played games, laughed at bad jokes, drank a lot of tea, got pranked by two unnamed individuals and breathed in fresh air that was smog free. That last factor alone should be persuasive enough to convince anyone to come along. After the weekend away, I couldn’t wait for each Wednesday Focus study, Sunday service and anything that involved spending time with my new church family. Finally, I felt like I truly found home in London.
Bonus points: Sarah Tingley read us a bedtime story, which was acted out by the Student workers. An experience you do not want to miss out on.
*Fear Of Missing Out
The Student Weekend Away will be 17-19 January 2020. To sign up, bring along ₤20 (the full cost of the weekend will likely be around ₤40), and chat to Sarah Tingley.