Why I Had to Join the Church

After a year of meeting God mainly in isolation, I went to college.

Life as a first-year began with a deluge of orientations, auditions, and introductions to new student organizations. I felt vaguely that I ought to find a place of worship, but it didn’t place high on my priority list, especially now when I seemed to be merely one of a thousand droplets bobbing about in the campus bucket.

It was a foot in my door that made me return to the church.

On my way out of the student organization fair, early in the year, I’d happened to take a survey about God. The survey led to a Bible study. The Bible study was tiny: just me, the leader, and one or two other girls who seemed equally undecided about staying. At the first meeting all of us were handed a sheaf of papers, each sheet headed with titles like “What is the Bible?” and “Who is God?” — and while these were commendable topics, they were not what I’d had in mind. I attended the first two or three meetings, and then let it slip through my schedule for the next few weeks as I settled into a tenuous balance of study, social life, and sleep.

But then the leader came to find me.

Michelle stood in the doorway of my room for a full half hour.

Even if I didn’t return to Bible study, she said, I needed to find a body of believers. I would have been a very reluctant listener, but much of what she said seemed to echo an essay I’d read in recent days  — “Membership,” by C.S. Lewis. In it, he writes that the members of the Body of Christ are not the homogenous, equal units that we usually associate with the word “membership.” Instead, “[St. Paul] meant what we should call organs, things essentially different from, and complementary to, one another” (164, The Weight of Glory). Parts united under the head of Christ.

The church will outlive the universe; in it the individual person will outlive the universe. Everything that is joined to the immortal head will share His immortality.

– 171, The Weight of Glory (emphasis mine).

Together, certainly without knowing it, Michelle and Lewis drove the point home.

Whether or not I “joined a church,” as a believer, I was part of the church. From the two sources before me, it seemed I could then be a bloodless and detached limb unnaturally withering away on its own, or a part linked to the rest of the body and its head, with vitality moving through me. It’s not a flawless analogy, but that was the impression that helped me to understand my situation.

That moment was the beginning of the overthrow; no longer would I think that “I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology” (God in the Dock, 61-62).

So I found a fellowship on my campus through the internet. I emailed the president in the morning, and he sent back a warm email in the afternoon. Shortly after that, the small group coordinator sent me another note of welcome, and then the small group leader for my dorm area called. Within 36 hours, I’d been invited to a Bible study meeting.

And so began the most accelerated time of growth in my life so far.

Continued tomorrow. 



This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert

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