Spiritual Health is one of the most important areas of a Christian’s life. Coming to a new city, a new school, and new people is daunting for everyone, and our anchor in these times is and should be Christ. The first and foremost task for any of us coming to Tuscaloosa for the first time is to find a solid, biblical, God-honoring body of believers to fellowship with. When finding a church there are 3 main things I would suggest to look for.
First, look for a church with a high view of scripture. Many churches prioritize motivational speaking or sermons to please the listener, but the church is called to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15) and to search the scriptures to seek the truth like the Bereans (Acts 17:11). Seek a church that does these things because it is the word of God that will grow you and speak to you.
Second, choose a church that focuses on fellowship. Often times, people fall into the practice of attending church on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays just as a habit. Instead, look for a church that, when they do meet, it is a time of fellowship and joy. Meeting together, eating, having fun, making lifelong friendships, and growing close should be a priority. Your church is not the place you go on Sunday, it is your family so look for a church that looks like a family.
Third, look for a church that is patient with one another. Because we have been forgiven in Christ, we must also forgive each other. We must be patient, not looking for quarreling but for friendship and love. Seek a church that does these things.
My path to finding a church here in Tuscaloosa was far from normative. I did research into many local churches; I read doctrinal statements, I watched sermons, and I looked at campus involvement. My first week here I went to one of those churches, and I saw all of the things I mentioned above. I felt at home so I stayed, and I didn’t visit any other churches. However, many churches in Tuscaloosa are just as faithful as the one I landed on, and many of my friends visited several churches before deciding where to stay. I would suggest either method. Don’t be afraid to visit multiple churches to see where you fit best.
In addition to finding a local church, personal prayer and study are crucial. The first semester in college is distracting. It is often temping to spend all of your time out with friends but it’s important to realize that a stable life is built first on the Word of God and prayer. A life without personal time in the Word of God is often weary, worrisome, and vulnerable to temptations. Don’t have a fear of missing out on what your friends are doing because those things will soon be forgotten. Make sure you are taught by God through His Word. The BCM and your local church can help you develop these disciplines if you are not sure where to start.
God has graciously given us things by which He blesses, nurtures, strengthens, disciples, and corrects us. By His grace He has given us His word, prayer, communion, fellowship with other believers, preaching of his word, and the list goes on. These common means of God’s Grace are crucial for us and are such a blessing in our times of struggle, weakness, and temptation. Prioritize first His kingdom, and the worries of this world will soon grow strangely dim. God will provide you the means to grow in Christ and live for His glory. Glory be to God!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Jonah C. Tuttle
Mathematics, Computer Science