Dear Upcoming Fellows Class,
Wow, I am so pumped for you! Wherever you are in your life (most of you have probably just graduated from college or are preparing to in the weeks to come), I know you are probably eagerly waiting to find out who you will be doing this program with, where and who you will be living with, what church you will be placed at, and where you will be working. Don’t worry. It will all work out.
I hope you are excited for this year. This might be your first choice for your post grad plans or maybe something else didn’t work out, but regardless… get excited! There is already a community of people ready to embrace you all into the Nashville family.
I wanted to write this to you not to tell you what to expect or what it will be like for you next year because honestly, everyone will have such a different experience. You get to be in a community with people right out of college, which is really special and uncommon, but it is not going to be just like the community you are leaving. You won’t be living together or working together; some may have friends outside the program, and some might only know the people in the Nashville Fellows community. Be prepared to really work to get to know each other outside of Fellows activities. I want to leave you with three pieces of advice as you prepare yourself for this next adventure.
1. Be present
One of the beautiful things about not knowing much about what your Fellows year will look like is that it gives you a chance to be present where you are at right now. Embrace that, and when your Fellows year starts be ready to be present. This year will fly by, and if you are too distracted by your past or looking too much into what the next year will look like you are going to miss out on a lot.
2. Evaluate your expectations
This is easy to say, yet so hard to actually follow. It is in our nature to have expectations of what Christian community is supposed to look like, what our friendships should be like, and how quickly they should form. Romans 3:23 says “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Your expectations are only going to fail you because people are not perfect, we are all different and broken in our own ways. Try to fill your expectations with grace and forgiveness.
3. Let go and let God
I know this can be cheesy and overused, but it is the best way for me to give you this last, and maybe best, piece of advice. You might have to let go of your comfort when it comes to church, friendships, or living situations. God is going to give you so much more if you allow him to use you where he needs you. When I got placed at St. George’s Episcopal Church I was not very excited. All I knew was that it was a more formal church, similar to what I grew up in and I was afraid that I was not going to get anything out of it. This year I gave this church my all, and have never felt more connected to a church. While I don’t know if I could commit to any denomination at this point, I do know that right now the Lord has me at St. George’s for a reason. I no longer think that I need to find a church that fits all my needs, but I want to be a part of a church where I can fit into the brokenness to love my brothers and sisters in Christ who are around me. There is no such thing as a perfect church, but there is a perfect God that has placed me where I am for a reason.
This year will be different for all of you. God created us in so many different ways with different desires and struggles. He created us with different personalities that do not always get along easily. Use this year to lean into your differences, learn from each other, cry with one another, and laugh together.
I can’t wait to meet you and to welcome you into this community!