Pastor's Note: Catherine is a student at Furman University and a part of our Summer Intern staff. She has a regular blog that I would encourage you to consume, which you can find at https://apassionatepursuit.com. Be on the lookout for more of Catherine's thoughts this summer.
When I was preparing to move into college for my freshman year, one of the first things I did
was pull up Pinterest to look for inspiration for how to make my dorm look homier. I spent hours
pinning, researching, and shopping to make sure my college dorm didn’t feel like a college dorm,
but truly felt like my new home (at least for 9 months out of the year). A countless number of
trips to HomeGoods and Bed Bath and Beyond later, I finally had all of the pieces to make my
15x15 cinder-block room feel like a soft place to land, like a home. I made all of these
investments because I knew creating my new home would take more than just calling it home
and crossing my fingers it would live up to its name.
For the longest time, I equated attending the same church every Sunday as having a “home”
church. I’d walk through the doors of the same church every Sunday, sit in the same seats, and
assume that if I did that enough weeks in a row, I would start to feel more at home. In the past
year, however, I’ve learned that having a home church means so much more than just showing
up every Sunday. It’s kind of like moving into a dorm. Having a home church means investing in
the building you walk into and in the people you sit next to week after week.
Investing is scary. As someone who’s grow up in the house of a portfolio manager, I get the
gravity of choosing to invest in something. Investing says you have confidence in where you’re
choosing to put your resources, that you believe in the person, the product, or the place. It says
that something matters to you. It says you’re willing to surrender a part of yourself on the risk
that the benefit will outweigh what you’ve given up.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to understand in the last year, when it comes to investing in a church,
the benefits always outweigh the risks and the sacrifices. When you invest in a church, you
inevitably reap rewards you probably weren’t even looking for in the first place. Rewards like
community, relationship, accountability, wisdom, encouragement, a soft place to land. A home.
When I first started going to Trailside, I simply attended Trailside. I walked in with my friends
from school, sat in the same chair every week, listened to the message, and left, ready to repeat it
all the next week. I did the same thing I had been doing at other churches for the past three years,
but for some reason, that no longer felt like enough at Trailside.
It’s like I could see what I was missing. As much as I loved going to church every Sunday, I
suddenly wanted to do more than attend Trailside, I wanted to be a part of Trailside.
So, I started investing.
When I got back to school in the fall, I started attending Trailside’s college group on campus to
build relationships with other students who went to Trailside. All I had to invest in the small
group was my time, but that small investment of my time has given me unimaginable returns. It’s
given me the sweetest friends that show me the love of Christ by bearing my burdens and
encouraging me. It’s given me people who help me grow in my faith because they challenge me
to live up to my calling as a follower of Christ. And, as cliché as it sounds, my small group has
given me a family. I love that when I walk through the door, it takes me fifteen minutes to get to
my seat because I’m too busy talking with the people in my small group.
Because of this family I have at Trailside, I now understand what it means to have a home
When I was finally settled into my freshman dorm, with all of my trinkets and decorations from
HomeGoods, I wanted other people to see it. I wanted to invite them over so they could see what
I loved about my new space and what about it made it feel like home to me.
When I started seeing Trailside as my home, I had the same overwhelming desire to share it with
others like I had with my dorm room. I wanted other people to experience the same kind of love,
encouragement, and community that I get to experience week after week at Trailside. I want
people to see what makes Trailside home for me, and I want it to feel like home for them.
If you feel like you’ve been crossing your fingers, hoping that your church will feel like home if
you show up enough weeks in a row, but still feel like something is missing, then I would
encourage you to seek opportunities to invest in your church. Take the risk of committing a piece
of yourself to your church and see how God can use your investment to give you returns you
never saw coming. And if you don’t have a home church, don’t have a set of doors to walk
through every Sunday, come to Trailside and see for yourself how God can give you a home
through this special church. Come ready to partake in Trailside and seek ways to actively make it
your home. I promise that home you’re craving exists at Trailside, you just have to choose to
invest in it.
Thank you for the opportunity we have to gather in Your name and grow in You and worship
You in community. Thank you that you don’t just call us to attend church every week, but that
you call us to participate. Thank you for showing us that when we commit to a home church, you
give us returns that we didn’t even see coming. Lord, I’m especially thankful for Trailside and
the home that I’ve found in this community. I pray that you bring people into its fold who are
looking for a home and who are eager to invest in this community, so it can further glorify You.
Thank you, God, that we don’t have to walk this faith alone, but that you have surrounded us
with other people who are seeking You. I pray You will give us a desire to invest in Your people,
Your church, and Your Kingdom, with the knowledge that only good can ever come out of
investing in You.
In Jesus’ name,