They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This passage has a lot of significance in my spiritual life. It started with my high school youth minister, who used this verse ad nauseum. It was his favorite way to characterize what our youth group should be like. He referenced it so many times, I circled the passage in my Bible in blue highlighter and labeled it “Greg Pirtle.” But these days, it’s the definition of my Canvas Group.
After leaving my high school youth group and moving to Missouri I immediately began attending the local Church of Christ here in Columbia because that’s what I was comfortable with. The families there welcomed me with open arms and took care of me in a way only a church congregation can. The campus ministry was small but loving, and I spent nearly two years there before I realized there was something missing.
Don’t get me wrong, there were amazing people there. Older couples who offered me laundry facilities, let me study at their house, made me home-made dinners. Young couples who planned events and led small groups. A few college girls who I developed friendships with. But at the same time, I wasn’t growing. I was stagnant, sitting in the same faith I adopted from my parents, not adventuring out with God on my own. And that’s not the result of anything that was wrong with my church. It just wasn’t right for me at the time.
I grew dissatisfied with the community. I needed to meet other Christians my age who were going through the same things I was. I joined Phi Lamb, but it just wasn’t enough.
Then came The Rock.
It astounds me to think that I’ve been going there for less than a year. I tried it out for the first time almost exactly a year ago tomorrow, and when services started up last fall, I was there as much as possible.
Through this church I’ve met some amazing people, especially within my Mark Twain Canvas Group. It breaks my heart to know I missed out on knowing these people my freshman and sophomore years. They’re my family. They’re real. They’re lost and passionately searching for God together. It’s beautiful.
It’s funny, as I was writing this, a Matt Wertz song came on my iTunes that really fits this post. I think it’s actually more about a guy and a girl breaking up, but I’ll change the context of the words to suit my purpose. It’s called “In On a Whim.”
I flew in a whim…
I’ve found a home in a place
Far from my own
But all good things come to an end
But still I don’t want to leave this place yet
It’s just so funny as I look back on this year
Because I haven’t even left here
And I miss your face
Standing right beside me
Pull me in with your embrace
How fast the time burns
When you’re trying to hold on
And how slowly it slips away
When you’re not
My Canvas Group knows how I feel about them, at least I hope they do, so I won’t make this post much longer by specifically spelling out what they’ve done in my life, but I just thought I needed to share my love for them here.
Thanks, friends. You all are fabulous. I can’t thank you enough for living out Acts 2:42-47 with me. I can’t wait to see what God does with us this summer. If you’re coming to LT with me, I’m so excited to spend the summer with you in the mountains. If you’re not going to Colorado, I can’t wait to write you letters on the new stationery I got.
Love, love, love,