I have created a Biola University Class of 2017 Facebook page that I would love for you all to join! Tell your friends coming to Biola this Fall. This page is to help you connect to other freshmen and incoming students. Check it out!
Community and Growth: Response to anon’s question
Hi friend, Shaunna here.
Just wanted to preface this by saying that this is a great question - one that doesn’t get asked nearly enough, and one that I will be intimately honest with you about. That being said, I would appreciate your respect as I share a little of my life with you. Also, please know that I am not assuming anything personal about the asker, but strictly speaking in general terms.
Biola is known for its great community. Whether that community is found in your dorm, in your classes, or in your run ins with people in the caf, it is important that you know this community is owned and operated by YOU. Each one of us has a responsibility to uphold the standards of the Biola community, and because we have a Christ centered standard, it makes it generally easy to do. While Biola is no replacement for church, it can be considered a sort of loose para-church because it does have the necessary qualifications. Because of this, one thing to remember is, just as Paul says in 1 Cor. 12, when one part of the body suffers, the whole suffers. There are HUGE implications for this. Our responsibility to the community - to the church - is to keep it as pure and holy as we can. Placing your burdens on the community is straight up unbiblical. Christ does not call us to place our burdens on the community, he calls us to place our burdens on him and him alone. Please understand that does not mean that you cannot share your troubles and seek council from your peers, but that intentionally (or even unintentionally) skipping the prayer/Christ step will be a serious detriment to you and the community. Considering entering the community with intentions to use it to better yourself is, in my opinion, not right. The community you enter, whether that be Biola or elsewhere, should nurture your faith, grow you, and challenge you, but it should not be your crutch. Your community should act as an accountability partner, but should not take the place of earnestly seeking after growth. At the end of the day, the only thing that is going to change your heart is Christ calling you to do so and you says yes. Considering entering the community with an attitude of humility and responsibility is how I would suggest going about it. It is not a bad thing to want a great community, but place your trust in it that it will help and not hinder you, but do not put your faith in it. Place your faith in Christ and ask him to grow you and keep you accountable.
Lets be honest:
Before I transferred to Biola, I had expectations that going to Biola and being in a community that fostered Christ-like behavior and had daily Bible readings as homework would make me a better Christian; I would learn to depend on God because I was surrounded by it. (I have also since found out that many of my friends had the same sort of expectation that being in a good community would “make them better christians” (whatever that means really). What I found was, in retrospect, heartbreaking. I found that because I had set goals to better myself, I came in with an understanding that everyone had the same sort of expectation. Out of this (mis)understanding, I assumed myself to be at the same place spiritually as my friends. They were reading their Bibles consistently, depending on God faithfully, and growing. I saw them growing and immediately assumed I was growing alongside them. In hindsight, I realized that I was stuck in that place I had begun at and that I was fully misusing the power of community. It gave me a false understanding of myself because I had expected it to take the lead. I had expected it to be the driving force behind my change and because of that, I was severely disappointed. Because I was not wholly leaning on God, but leaning on my friends and the Biola community, I was not growing spiritually or being challenged in the ways that I am now.
I want to end by saying this:
The Biola community is a wonderful place to be during your college years. It is a place of love, safety, and refuge for all who enter. It is not a bad place to want to be. It is your responsibility to uphold its integrity.
My advice to you is this:
Take advantage of it, but don’t expect it to do the work for you. Do not choose a school just because you think that the community will help you grow. Prayerfully consider your options and earnestly seek after the Lord’s will for your future. He will make it clear where he wants you, and if you faithfully continue to seek after the Lord, he will send a community over to you to encourage and grow you.
As always, praying for you all!