Following Jesus with a new fellowship

Jul 10, 2017 by

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Today after I got dressed and I looked in the mirror, I just “felt” German Baptist. I don’t expect anyone to understand that feeling, and maybe I’m putting far too much into what fellowship I’m with. I hope this doesn’t come off that way.

As I gazed at the woman looking back at me, I loved her. I loved her covered head, even if it’s not the covering I’d choose. I loved her modest dress and the smile she was wearing.

The woman in the mirror was, of course, me. I then realized that this September would mark five years since I made a public confession of my relationship with Jesus. It also will mark five years of fellowshipping with the Old German Baptist Brethren.

I’m sure many thought it was a phase I was going through or that I wanted attention. However, what it was turned out to be much greater than just a place to visit on Sunday mornings. It has become a place for me to experience spiritual growth. A community to walk by my side. Extended family to replace the ones I don’t have. I’ve been given opportunity to be mentored and to be a mentor. But above all else, it’s enveloped me into the body of the bride of Christ.

I don’t beat around the bush. It hasn’t been an easy adjustment. This branch of the body also comes with a unique culture that has a plethora of blessings but also a heritage of a divide that shook it to its core. Unfortunately, that division brought forward some realities of where the church was lacking. I’m not going to sing the tune of a perfect congregation. I refuse to turn a blind eye to areas of needed growth.

Yet I want to make it abundantly clear that I have no doubts that God placed me in this fellowship. I don’t know if it’s my forever church home or just a stepping stone to further God’s plan for my life. I’m going to leave that in his hands. With the church and her struggles, what I also see is a willingness to grow and seek his majesty’s will for the church. Great growing pains are to be expected. I know I certainly went through them as I grew from a baby Christian into a more mature but not-yet-adult follower of Christ.

So even though it isn’t exactly five years yet, I stand before the mirror and I am glad with where God has placed me in my life. I remember thinking if only I could last five years, then maybe everything wouldn’t be so awkward and new. I’d be lying if I said it was as if I was raised in this culture with these brothers and sisters. There are still little things like not having any clue whom the funny story is about when sitting down to Sunday dinner. I still get a little frightened that I’ll have to sit alone at church. But those little things mean nothing when I compare it to the joy and contentment my Father has given me!

Many told me that the new would wear off and it did. It was a daunting time for me, but I’d rather be part of the community rather than the shiny new toy. So here’s to five (nearly) years of being with a beautifully yet imperfect community.

Nicci Price is a member of the Covington, Ohio, district of the Old German Baptist Brethren Church, New Conference. She blogs at Pilgrim Nicci Journeying On, where this post first appeared.

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