By: Aaran Williams, Resonate Ellensburg
Connecting is hard for us as humans, but as disciples it doesn’t have to be.
Before coming to college, and more importantly before coming to Christ, I was this anxious introvert who stayed home on the weekends. I didn’t have much desire to do extracurriculars or sports or even go out with my friends to live a typical teenage life. Coming to college and more or less starting over from scratch was going to be hard for me. Now, after starting college and making the decision to follow Jesus four years ago, there are some important things that I’ve learned about what it means to connect.
1. It is not weird to want to connect with people. Personally, I didn’t take enough time to really meet my classmates or my coworkers or really anyone that I interact with daily. I was worried it would be weird or it’s not the right timing or some other excuse I made up in my head. The truth is though, it is in our human nature to want deep friendships, to connect with others, to help and interact with each other. These connections that we crave can seem intimidating, but what I’ve come to realize is that they’re gifts from God. We were never meant to live alone, and our inherent need for human connection is a reminder of this. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” So, God made many animals for Adam, but “for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him,” (Gen. 2:19-20). Thus, God created Eve. The beasts and the birds weren’t enough to keep Adam company or help him. Eve was gifted the capacity by God to be his helper and companion.
2. God has already done most of the work for us. As disciples we are meant to go out and meet people. Invite them to Village, to church, to just spend time to know each other. At CWU, we have this event called “tabling.” This is when all the clubs on campus set up information tables in the main building and work to pique student interest. This is how Resonate works to meet a lot of people at CWU, and it’s proven to be very effective. These people are complete strangers and random bystanders, and that can make connecting all the more intimidating. But when we realize that God has already put people in our lives we can talk to easily, it makes things like tabling feel much more within our capabilities. As students we have classmates we see almost daily. Right there the class is at least one commonality between you and your classmate. Then, there’s the inevitable group assignments or presentations where we are forced to interact. For anyone with a job, we see our co-workers often. Our favorite coffee shops with the same baristas. Walk to campus and we see the same pedestrians. The neighbors we run into when checking the mail. God places these people and opportunities in our lives already. What is stopping us from taking the extra step to ask how their day is going? Invite them to lunch? Buy them coffee? It’s such a little step that means so much. That’s what most of connecting is; making little strides more and more until you’ve walked a thousand miles with that person. Once you can engage in a basic conversation with anyone, the opportunities are abundant.
3. A moment of awkwardness is nothing compared to a lifetime relationship with Christ. I remember a time when I was complaining to a friend about how defeated I felt about not getting anywhere with a coworker when it came to Gospel sharing or even inviting them to a hang out. She asked me what was holding me back. At first, I thought it was my co-worker being difficult and it was her fault. Then, blamed it on the timing or the atmosphere at work. Really anything other than what it really was. I was worried I would invite her to lunch and she would turn me down, making it too awkward to see her the next day. That was it. I was worried about a moment of awkwardness. What a small thing it is getting in the way of sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ. If that small moment is the worst thing to happen, then it should be worth it.
Resonate Church’s mission statement is “Connecting the Gospel to people, people to community, and community to mission.” Without putting ourselves out there to meet people and deepen relationships, we cannot do the mission of God and our own mission of planting churches in college cities. Personally, knowing Resonate’s purpose and knowing what God calls us to do as disciples, I put this immense pressure on myself to connect with others. It always ended in me becoming discouraged, taking myself and others entirely too seriously, and missing the point of connecting. Once the fears of connecting with others were realized and overcome, it became a joy to do so and my soul was filled at seeing the work God was doing in so many lives. Don’t let these fears and anxieties stop you from trying. The more you do it, the less scary connecting will seem, the more fruitful it’ll become, and the more you will see the glory of God.