In keeping with my one blog streak of talking about Christian growth, I felt like this would be a good opportunity about how meaningful and beneficial it has been to have a church home while at college.
For starters, I am a part of a small denomination called the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or ARP for short. I have been a part of the ARP ever since I became a Christian, and I love it for a lot of reasons. For being a relatively small denomination there are actually quite a lot of ARP churches in the Southeast. That being the case, it was not hard to find an ARP church nearby. There is even one right in town only a stone’s throw away from my dorm room window. As it turns out, due to various long time friends, I find myself a three year attendee of the Greenwood ARP Church about 20 minutes away.
Having a church at college is really like having a home away from home (given the right church at least). I have found in these past few years that the friends and leaders at GARP (I like abbreviations) have been such a great help and encouragement in so many different ways. I have received words of wisdom from my pastor and other men in the church concerning a variety of things from tips for my college classes to marriage advice. I have been a part of several Sunday School classes and have even been able to teach Sunday School on one occasion! When I endeavored to go to Wales for a missions internship this past summer, I found this church to be more than willing to support me in prayer and with their finances. They wanted to hear about my intended mission before I ever went over seas. and then they were even more eager to hear about my adventures once I got back!
My involvement in campus ministry has been a huge part of my spiritual development in these past years of college. That being said, there is no substitute for being a part of a church family that faithfully preaches the word of God and loves with the love of Christ. I have formed bonds with the members of GARP as well as the other students who attend with me. We ride to and from the church together, listen to the same sermons and even head out to lunch afterwards (when the college budget allows). This “home away from home” has become so much more than that. Erskine has been my home since August 2010 and in that time this church has loved me like any home church would or could. Thier hospitality has been a huge blessing and no matter where I go, this church and all the people in it will have a special place in my life.