Picture it. Tuscaloosa. 2020. The first thing I ever did at UA was a class tour with the BCM. I would love to say from that point I was hooked, but it took a lot more stepping out of my comfort zone to go back. I should preface this by reminding you that COVID-19 was still very prevalent, so everything was not back to normal. There was no Back-to-School retreat, Survival or Trivia Night. A couple of days after classes started, I got an email about Journey Groups. I knew I wanted to get involved in a Christian community when I got to college and here was my chance. The decision to sign up for a Bible study was super scary for me. I struggled to join one because of that fear. Fear of not knowing anyone and of being in a completely new environment. Obviously, I signed up for a Journey Group and that was one of the best decisions I made that semester. Not only was I walking through the Bible in community, I also met some of the best people and was introduced to an awesome community of believers. Through these relationships and this community, I got more plugged into the BCM. During freshman year, I saw God answer my prayer of finding a Christian community in such an amazing way.
This led to my sophomore year. I was excited to see what a normal year sans COVID would look like, and can I just say it was awesome! The other part of finding a Christian community was finding a church. I have gone to the same church at home since I can remember, so coming to college was hard because I had no idea how to navigate finding a new church. Thankfully, the BCM is an awesome resource for finding a local church. I tried a couple of churches with friends from the BCM. One Sunday, I walked into a church by myself. Mind you I despise going places by myself. But that church was The Church at the Oaks, and it’s where I stayed. Our mission is to send disciple-makers of Jesus, by being disciple-makers of Jesus. We end every service with The Great Commission. Little did I know that these verses would become such prevalent scriptures in my life. One huge thing we highlight at the BCM is missions, and I saw the same thing at church. God was orchestrating my life to set me up for the mission field whether I knew it at the time or not. I had never been on a mission trip before college and had never really considered it either. This summer I spent eight weeks on mission in New York City.
I could say that the freshman who walked into the BCM for a class tour is not the same person who served in NYC, but that’s not true. I am the same person, but that’s the beauty of how God is working in my life through the BCM and my church. He took that scared freshman who almost didn’t go back, and grew her into a disciple-maker for Him who can boldly share the gospel. The fear didn’t completely disappear. I just turned it into relying on Christ when I'm too scared to take the first step. His word says in Isaiah 41:10,
“Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
One piece of advice I have for new students, and not to copy Nike, but, “Just Do It.” It can be scary to go somewhere new to you, especially alone. The places where I’ve found community are places where I walked in alone. But trust me AND scripture when I say we're not alone. God says fear not for He is with us. ALWAYS. The plan he had for freshman me is far greater than what I could’ve imagined. So, with all that being said…. just do it!
Kaela Knight | Junior | Dothan, Alabama | @k.kae