Community in Christ
Many people have a place they consider to be their home church, but I’ve never quite experienced one like Ekklesia. Ekklesia is a Christian college group that is located near the Western Washington University campus. Ekklesia and college groups alike are meant for people to get to know or further their relationship with God and to create a strong community with friends that is founded in your faith. As a 19 year old Christian and freshman at Western Washington University, this place called Ekklesia is what I’ve always wanted in terms of a community, and there is bound to be a college group similar to it near you. Ekklesia and college groups in general do a great job at what it was built to do, and here is why.
More than often when you walk up to the building where a college group is being held you will find that it looks like an ordinary building, in Ekklesia’s case it is a one story building that doesn’t have anything special outside of it except for a small sign that displays “EKKLESIA” in large orange lettering. As you walk inside you will most likely find yourself in a lobby with tables and refreshments around. Ekklesia’s lobby is quite small and usually has a couple people talking and smiling around yourself. Someone always introduces themselves to you with a warm smile and at once you feel at home. As you walk further into the building you end up in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is where most of the action happens at college groups, especially Ekklesia. This is where the sermon takes place and where the band plays worship music. There is a stage at the front with a set of drums, a keyboard, two guitars, a bass guitar, and some microphones. People continue to walk into the sanctuary and mingle with each other because they know that this space is a welcoming environment where no one is going to judge you. At Ekklesia there is a large timer on the projection screen counting down to zero. When it reaches zero the room starts to move and people begin walking to their seats. The band begins to play a worship song and everyone begins to sing along. The room fills with energy because everyone is singing, dancing, and just having a good time. You feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness as you look around at all this because you see people being themselves and you know that you can sing as loud as you want and dance without anyone giving you funny looks. As the band continues to play a couple more songs, the youth pastor comes up and begins his sermon. Sometimes it’s a part of a series of sermons and other times it could consist of individual sermons. As you sit down in your chair you look around the room and see faces looking and listening to the pastor with concentration. You see that this place has an effect on people. People aren’t having quiet side conversations or looking at their phones, like a lot of people would be doing while listening to a lecture for school. Everyone is listening intently and are actually curious about what he has to say. Not only that, but everyone in the room came here because they wanted to hear what the pastor had to say. This place wasn’t built to force people to come, it was built to invite people, to bring people closer to God. The pastor encourages people to invite their friends in order to fulfill this. It isn’t a required class but it is an invitation to learn more about God and who Jesus is. When the pastor finishes his sermon, he invites the band back up to sing a couple more worship songs. These worship songs are a little bit different than the ones at the beginning. The room created a sense of seriousness where everyone is intently thinking about their relationship with God because the sermon is more than often about a very relatable topic and causes people to think. Everyone know that this is where they can truly contemplate their relationship with God because if they look around they will see that there are many others doing it too. You see people raising their hands in praise as they feel an overwhelming feeling that God is in this room. The songs continue until the pastor comes up and dismisses us. People begin to walk around and mingle with their friends some more and continue to build community. As you walk out the door of your college group, in my case Ekklesia, you sense that it won’t be the last time, you want more of this community and of God, so naturally you come back next week.
From watching this all occur from my own eyes at Ekklesia, I can say that is does exactly what it is meant to do. That it allows for people to get to know or further their relationship with God while also creating a strong community with friends that is founded in your faith. Not only this, but it is also a great opportunity for people to make new friends and create long lasting relationships. I’ve spoken to people at Ekklesia who have met their live long friends there and have been like siblings ever since. It’s not just at Ekklesia though. This can all happen at whatever college group you decide to go to or just to go check out. The only thing that matters when choosing a college group is that you choose one that fits you the best. The space that is used for college groups like Ekklesia has the perfect atmosphere and surroundings to build stronger relationships with those around you and with Christ. The open space allows for everyone to interact with each other and it also allows you to worship in any way that you want to. The atmosphere it brings is perfect for Ekklesia and many other college groups because everyone acts like themselves and aren’t afraid of doing just that because they know that no one is perfect and that it’s perfectly ok to be exactly who you are. This room brings a sense of community that wants to help you along your walk with God because almost everyone in this room truly cares about the wellbeing of one another. This place isn’t just happy with what it has though. Everyone that has experienced an amazing college group like Ekklesia goes out and invites their friends to try and get them to experience the same thing that they’ve experienced. That’s exactly what I’m inviting all of you to do too. A lot of this might not make sense to you, but if you want to experience all of these things, then I encourage you to go out and try and find a college group that allows you to experience the things that I have experience through Ekklesia.
As you can see, Ekklesia and many other college groups do something incredible. It takes you and puts you into this environment where everyone knows it’s ok to be exactly who you are, and where you can also grow in your relationship with God. This room allows for people to get to know new friends because everyone is excited to talk to new people every week. This place doesn’t just do what it’s made for, it excels at it. As a Christian I have never been a part of a community that is founded stronger in faith than the community that Ekklesia brings. For that reason, it’s clear to me that a college group like Ekklesia is the perfect place for anyone looking for a community, or for anyone looking to develop their relationship with Christ.