The first week of college is quite a crazy time. It’s filled with so much excitement and nerves about the years to come, tons of decisions that will impact your future college experience, and even the rest of your life. In that week you figure out what your life is going to be like for the next two to five years—let’s be honest. Not everyone graduates in four years.
During that first week, many freshmen find their favorite spots on campus, their classrooms, and maybe most importantly, their friend group. I say that because the people who you surround yourself with in college have an enormous effect on you. There’s a verse in Proverbs that speaks profoundly on this: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Clearly, who we walk with in this life is of vital importance. As a general rule, according to Craig Groeschel, you are the average of your five closest friends. J.D. Greear puts it this way, “You were made for friendship, but in turn, friendship makes you.”
Take it from my experience.
Six years ago, in August of 2013, I arrived onto the campus of UNCG both excited and nervous. What I didn’t expect was to meet a guy who would be instrumental in leading me to faith in Christ. But that’s exactly what happened. At the time, Mercy Hill Church was just under one year old. There were a few launch team members that lived near UNCG’s campus who came to help students move in and invite them to Mercy Hill. My roommate, his girlfriend, and I began coming to Mercy Hill within the next month and the trajectory of all of our lives were changed.
Though I’d come to college yearning to make a name for myself, after I believed the gospel, I realized my purpose was to live to make his name known. In large part, God used those guys and a few others in my Community Group to help in seeing that change happen. The crazy thing is my story is just one of many stories that we’ve seen happen at Mercy Hill. In fact, last year we had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of students during the first week of school through an initiative we call First 10. As a ministry, MH College believes that if you can reach the campus, you can reach the world, and the first week of college is one of the best opportunities to reach the campus.
Made for Friendship
Reaching freshmen is at the heart of MH College in light of knowing the importance of who you surround yourself with. College is the first taste of freedom for many students, but the danger of college is the opportunity to choose. College is a powerful instrument in revealing the desires of your heart. So, whether you are an incoming freshman or returning student, do an internal evaluation: who am I surrounding myself with?
Because we have been made in the image of God, we have been made for friendship. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit give us a glimpse into the depth and beauty of friendship. If we have been made for friendship, then let us not live in isolation in college; let us desire to see incoming freshmen find true friendship in Christian community. Immerse yourself in community and come to life because God has created you for community.
-Patrick Anderson (New City Church Launch Team Member)