January 29, 2016
Community is a miracle. It is a delighting opportunity to receive Christ’s love from His people, a love that not only you feel, but transforms you.
I remember when I first came to Bethany Global University.
I was so afraid. I was scared to get close to anyone because I had led such a negative life for a long time and trust was difficult for me. I didn’t know that in the next five months, my life would be flipped upside down.
Community has power. As my life at this missionary school progressed, I could feel my soul and spirit being restored. Taking a peek into the hearts of people and seeing their authentic Christ-like love began to transform my life. The scales of fear began to fall from my eyes and I began to see the world through a bright new light.
Community helps you learn to…
- Develop Time Management: Balancing time to spend with he Lord, social time, and homework assignments can be a challenge. Community life puts you in a position where you are enabled to be responsible with time.
- Rely on the Lord: Whether you are going through a rough time and desire God’s help or seek growth in highlighted areas of your life, God uses community to shepherd us to seek comfort in Him.
- Be a Servant Leader: Community life unravels the importance of putting others before yourself. It reveals the personal growth that comes from it. You learn to see how serving others delights God’s heart and get to carry out the servant leadership that Jesus exhibited. Interested in being a leader in ministry, but not in missionary work? Take a look at our LEAD program!
- Embrace Vulnerability: Vulnerability is part of a healing process God takes us through. It is a moment that although difficult, enables God to shine His light into the dark places we try to hide. There is redemption to be found in vulnerability and your own vulnerability can be used as a tool to heal others later on through the power God has given our testimonies.
- Slay the ‘Fear’ Monster: Community life at BGU is a safe place to grow in confidence, courage and boldness. You are surrounded by individuals who not only love you, but share the same heart for the Lord that you do. You have the perfect opportunity to come out of your shell and find your identity in the Lord.
- Experience God in New Ways: Through community, God reveals to us new ways to experience Him. Whether it is through something we learn in class, hear from a friend or at church God shows us new things about Himself or new ways to come close to Him using the people around us.
- Appreciate Accountability: Accountability gives us the opportunity to receive support from the community around us. Though at times it might seem silly, it is a great resource to be able to have our friends and other closed ones be able to speak life into our lives when we go through hard times and to be able to have them to keep us walking down the right path, even when times are tough.
- Grow in Your Spiritual Gifts: Whatever your spiritual gifts are, (Leadership, encouragement, administration, discernment, etc.) community is a perfect chance to grow in them. At BGU, you have the chance to exhibit your gifts in different ways: being a leader for an event, encouraging the community, or expanding your gifts through a Practical Training task.
- Encourage the Growth of Others: In his letters to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 5:11), Romans (Rom 14:19), and Ephesians (Eph 4:29), the Apostle Paul reinforces the importance of building each other up. As the Body of Christ, we have been given the task to building one another up with Christ-like love and living in community gives us a great opportunity to do so.
- Perceive Through God’s Eyes: Living in community helps us learn to see others through God’s eyes. You learn to always find the beautiful things that God sees in them: wisdom, peace, joy, etc. and encourage them.
- Delight in Diversity: In a Missionary School, you meet people from all over. Some all the way from India, and others from Canada. Some from Kansas City, and some from Nebraska. Some students like rock music, others like country, some have more conservative views than others. Community helps you appreciate these differences, readying us for the larger scale variations that missionaries experience overseas.
- Rejoice in the Growth of Others: As the months go by, you get to see the different ways people around you are growing. It brings such a joy into your heart when you see someone who was struggling with something come out of it in victory. Community teaches you to not be afraid to rejoice with them over the victory you have been blessed to witness.
- Welcome Words of Affirmation: Sometimes it can seem harder to receive rather than to give words of affirmation, especially at a missionary school like BGU, because everyone is so willing to encourage one another. Community teaches you that it is okay to accept these words. It does not make you any less humble or prideful, but that in fact you are agreeing with the way that God sees you.
- Solve Problems: Community teaches you to find the joy in difficult moments. It helps you keep in mind that through problem solving, you are in fact growing. You learn new skills and new ways to deal with different issues, expanding in wisdom and knowledge.
- Acknowledge the Power of the Body of Christ: A christian community is the Body of Christ, and as the bible says, “Where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there.” The power of Christ is present in community, you can feel Him there, not only through worship and prayer, but by the victory and joy that always raises up in the lives of His people. Though the enemy might try to get us, those who know Christ hear His voice.
- Be Ready to Share: Being in community you learn that sharing is a precious opportunity to serve your brothers and sisters. Whether it is books, clothes, etc. Having the ability to share is a blessing.
- Cherish One-on-Ones: One-on-Ones are an opportunity to get to know members of the community better. Through them, you come to know everyone better.
- Be Intentional: In community, there is always someone you can get to know a little bit more. You learn the importance of being intentional with those around you and you look forward to learning something new about somebody almost everyday.
- Pray and Be Prayed: In community you learn the importance of praying for one another. You learn that prayer really does make a differences as you see the prayers around you being answered. You learn to be ready to pray for others, knowing how much prayer can impact lives.
- Treasure and Respect Multi-Generations: Living in a missionary community you appreciate the different generations around you and how to respect the different views that older generations hold. You have an opportunity to learn from those with more experience and grow with those closer to your generation.
- Enjoy the Little Things: You learn to love the fact that there is always something to do. Living in community, there is never a dull moment. At BGU, you’ll find either a worship session going on in the chapel, or a group of students swing dancing in the gym. You’ll discover a group of people heading to Old Chicago, or watching Netflix. There is always someone you can study with if you like to study in groups, so whether you need help finishing up an assignment or studying for a test, you’ll always find someone there for you.
- Flourish the Fruits of the Spirit: Community is an awesome opportunity to develop the fruits of the spirit! If you feel like you’re lacking in peace, joy, patience, self-control or any of the other fruits that God’s heart desires for us, community is the perfect place to grow. God uses different experiences from community to help us be edified, and develop our character to be more Christ-like.
- Seek out Advice: In community, you are surrounded by individuals who have experience in different areas. Community gives us the opportunity to be humble and seek out advice from those who might hold a better understanding in different areas.
- Hear God’s Voice: Whether it is hearing a word for yourself or someone else, what you learn in class or from those around you can help you learn more about how you can hear God speak to you.
- Be a Family in Christ: Living in community, you learn to see those around you as more than just student, teachers, and supervisors. You learn to love and see everyone as your brothers and sisters- the family that we are in Christ.
- Desire an Early Church Environment: There is a rare beauty in being able to experience living in a christian community. You get to step just a little more into the environment the early church lived in, and you get to see why it worked so well. You and those around you will always have one thing in common: your heart for Christ. You are all yearning to grow in the same ways, to become more like Him.
- Keep Your Eyes on the Goal: Living in a missionary community helps you keep your eyes on the real goal: Jesus is coming back. You and everyone around you knows it- He is coming back one day, and till then, we can all work together to take the gospel to where it is not, to create new disciples, stepping closer to having the kingdom come.