“Make sure you find a good church.” “Don’t go to church!” “It’s really important you get stuck into a church otherwise you’re going to lose your faith.” “So do you think you might maybe check out a church when you get to uni?” “Stay away from the Christians – just smile and wave when they try to give you something free.” “What do you mean someone’s already invited you to church?”
As you leave for uni you might hear one of these statements (or something similar) from a well-meaning parent, sibling, pastor or friend. And whether you follow Jesus or not you will likely have some sort of an opinion about church. You might think that church is boring, you might love church, you might have been hurt really badly by a church, you might have never set foot in a church. But whoever you are, you will likely have an opinion about it.
And ultimately, as you come to uni you have a decision to make. Do you want to keep, or start following Jesus? This is a question that no one else can answer for you. You’ve spread your wings, flown the nest and you get to choose! Before I started following Jesus my life was a mess. On the outside I had it all – parties, a good sportsman, relationships, popularity. But on the inside I was just a little kid who had to grow up too fast and wanted to be loved and looked after. I was broken and felt so alone.
But then… Jesus! On an early morning train back from a party I encountered the Holy Spirit and in a moment my life changed direction. I chose to follow Jesus and my life has been wonderfully, amazingly and beautifully changed since. I can truly say there is nothing better than following Jesus. I tried the other way and spoiler alert, it’s rubbish!
Now you might be reading this and wondering what this has to do with church. Well, it can sound a little strange, but the Bible says that the Church is “Jesus’ bride”. So if you want to follow Jesus, then loving His bride is a key part of that. Like all great husbands, Jesus adores his bride!
I could list all the benefits you will get from going to church – albeit online in this season – like a loving family, people to feed you great food, spiritual growth and so on… But don’t go to church for the benefits. If you do you’ll ultimately be disappointed because you’ll be wanting the church to fill your needs not Jesus.
Go to church because you love Jesus and Jesus loves His bride. One of the joys of following him is we get to love what he loves. As the Church, we get to feed the hungry, care for the poor, heal the sick, fight against injustice and so much more. Go to church to serve. Go to church to worship Jesus with other people who love Him. Go to church because you love Jesus.
And if you don’t know Jesus, go to church because someone will tell you about him and I 100% guarantee that he will change your life.
If you’re heading to University this September we’d love to point you towards our Church Finder to find and connect with your nearest Vineyard church. We believe this will help the transition of moving homes so much easier!