When I came to YWAM I was welcomed by an overwhelming embrace of Christian community. I was constantly surrounded by people who wanted to do bible studies, worship, pray, and discuss our day to day struggles as Christians. The relationships that I formed were like no other and the joy that I felt from being immersed in such a close-knit family was beautiful. We encouraged one another to grow in ways we knew only the Lord could grow us in.
Transitioning from YWAM to life back home is not always an easy shift. You go from being constantly surrounded by a devoted Christian community, to the reality that home life is quite different. When leaving YWAM to go home, I was hit with that hard reality. YWAM cultivates a community like no other and it is hard to believe that we will find that same type of community in our home towns.
It is not the experience of Christian community, but firm and certain faith within Christian community that holds us together. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Often times we search for the same community we were blessed with in our season of incredible growth, but fail because unfortunately not every community prospers in such a way. In fact, we are not built to thrive constantly. There is always going to be times of trials and discomfort but it is our ability to rely on the Lord that strengthens our soul. Going back home requires immense courage and strength because it entails old environments that hold past habits. They have old relationships that are unhealthy, opinions that held greater power over us than God’s, and the list goes on. Home is sometimes not the easiest place to return to but is a request He calls many of us to. It is easy to think we go through this walk alone or that it is just something between you and God, but our lack of wisdom in this area leads us astray.
Community back home looks different because of all that we have experienced. Our lens in which we see the world has changed, what we desire and what we no longer value. When coming home we often desire the same experience that we have encountered in YWAM. We forget the true value that God has for us in the gift of community. The true value is the firm belief in Christ which unites us as a family. Community is not about picking and choosing our favorite parts and recreating a past community, but rather embracing a new community that values a firm faith to continually grow closer in relationship to God and become united as God’s children.
We cannot assume that this kind of community will fall into our laps. It takes effort to find a community whether it be through your church, someone else’s church, your close friend group, college/university, etc. There is community out there and not to say that we cannot expect great things through this new community because we 100% can. God blesses those who draw near to Him and proclaim His glory together. Assumptions will always disappoint us. Assuming that a new community will never reach the standards of what we have experienced will block us from what God has in store for us in a new season. Only God knows what a new season will bring and what we need to do through that transition is be patient and trust in the Lord because He is good. Be encouraged for He will provide in ways we cannot imagine. Expect the unexpected because God is moving always and is ready to move through you. Receive the invitation and accept His radical love over your life. He will create a new home through you.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
By Dana Friesen