What we’ve discovered in church ministry, is that people long to feel connected. People long to be welcomed in. People long to belong. Over the past three years, the most common thing we’ve heard from people as they’ve become part of our church is this: “I was looking for community and I found it here.”
We’ve heard this sentiment from a wide variety of people: families, single adults, high schoolers, and college students. Just within this past week, there have been three different people who have expressed their experience of finding community. A college student who had only been coming to our church for two weeks, shared her interest in possibly doing our Discipleship School saying: “You guys are just so kind, how you interact with people makes me feel loved and welcomed. I want to be like you.”
A couple who is moving away from Baton Rouge for work, shared at their last Lifegroup this week: “We had experienced community in college but since then really hadn’t found it again until we came here. You guys embraced us during a hard time in our marriage and during a new season of the birth of our first child. You poured into us even though we didn’t have much to pour out to you.”
Lastly, a young woman new to Antioch, told her Lifegroup leader over coffee: “I've never felt as welcomed or as instantly accepted and loved by a group of people like I have at Antioch. It brings me to tears when I think about how the Lord orchestrated everything. He truly is so faithful and I've been able to intimately experience His strength, joy, and peace through my response to follow Him and find community here.”
The powerful thing is this: it’s not just our church staff or leaders who make our church community feel like family. Community is contagious. Yes, we set the tone originally, but this is now the culture of our church. People gather together for meals during the week, birthday celebrations, baby showers, and coffee dates. We love the fact that we don’t organize every event, or even many at all, because it shows that this church community is alive and functioning above and beyond what we as staff started in the beginning.
When you come to Antioch, you belong. We have a spot for you. If you just started your journey with God, if you’re a long time believer, even if you don’t know Him at all, you are welcome here. Jump in, don’t hold back, say “yes” when you’re invited to dinner or coffee or Lifegroup, say “yes”, because you belong.