I tend to refer to 2014 as my Year of the Hermit Crab. I finished High School at the end of 2012 and left my church of 10 years soon after. I then spent 2013 and 2014 ‘church hunting’, also known as ‘only going to church when I feel like it so every couple of months’. I didn’t ever think going to church was something you could get out of the habit of, but I very much got out of the habit of going to church. I didn’t walk away from the church in terms of my faith – during those 2 years I was still very active in youth ministry, worship and young adults’ ministry – I was just no longer part of a church community.
About half way through last year I began to feel it. I was no longer part of a church or a group of people who I saw on a regular basis. I began feeling really lonely and my relationship with God suffered in the process. University also took priority, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I have never in my life craved the company of people more than towards the end of last year.
So my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 was to suck it up and join a church, and that’s exactly what I did. It took me a long time to get over the fear and anxiety of walking into a place where I knew no one and for the first few months, I sat alone at the back and tried not to make eye contact with anyone. But I soon forced myself to get involved with the church in a voluntary capacity, giving me a reason to be at church every Sunday, a group of people to sit with and a community within a community to call my own.
At the beginning of the year I was also invited to join a home group, again with people I barely knew. 7 months later and they are some of my favourite people on the planet. We meet once a week, share a meal and study the bible, play board games or watch movies. I can’t speak enough to the benefits of having a group of people who have to hang out with you every week. It’s the best. Shout outs to my Home Gs if you’re reading this.
The massive lesson that I have learned over the last year is this: we are created for community. I truly believe this. This is one of the driving forces behind The Grace Collective – connecting Christian young adults from across Auckland as a community. If you would like to join us for one of our upcoming events (there are a bunch!) check out our Facebook Page for events and updates.
Eleanor Calder is a full time student and part time ministry assistant at AYM, organising events for youth and young adults across the Auckland Diocese and running the social media. She often MC’s our events and has been known to play a set or two for us on her guitar. Eleanor loves classical music memes and Taylor Swift more than pretty much everything else.