How to Find Community in a New Place
By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
It is the heart of the Lord that man not be alone, and the cultivation of good community is a vital aspect for a well-rounded life. Community at times can prove challenging to find and grow, especially in a new place. How then can it be grown so that it does not feel forced or uncomfortable when you are in a new season of life and location?
Connecting Points Via Social Media
Typically, the choice to move to a new place comes from a new career position, a move for a relationship, or a move to be near family. Social media, in general, has its drawbacks in our modern age, but it can also be used to benefit us when used wisely. More than likely, someone you know might have a good connection for tapping into a community in your new place. Consider making a post on Facebook or Instagram inquiring in hopes of making new friends in a new place. For example, a friend of mine recently moved to Raleigh, NC; she did not know anyone besides the man she was moving states for, but I did know a few friends in Raleigh. I connected them, and now they are enjoying a budding friendship. You never know who others might just know and where!
Church Small Groups
Getting plugged into a good church is another important aspect, not just socially growing but also spiritually. It may take some time but finding a Biblically rooted church can open the door to so much. Do your research on churches in your area, ensuring that their values and goals align with the Word of God and are not driven by exterior narratives. If the church proves a good fit on Sunday mornings, see about getting plugged in deeper through a small group during the week or take advantage of one of their event nights. Especially with warmer weather on the horizon, many churches will plan hiking events, ice cream socials, and the like where it can be a casual way to ease into getting to know new people. Most importantly, it can be a place to connect with others on a spiritual level to lift up one another and encourage one another in pursuit of the Lord.
Several stores often offer events and classes as well. REI Co-Op costs around $20 to join, but they offer several excursions and outdoor events that teach you valuable skills, allow for a beloved activity, and all at the same time, can become a way to meet others who enjoy the same activities you do. Stores such as LL Bean generally offer similar opportunities as well. If you are not outdoorsy, there are often opportunities for just about any hobby or interest you can dream up—Check-in with local museums for art nights or even ongoing learning outlets. Even if there is not a scheduled event, you might spark an idea for the store to create one!
With the help of social media, groups have seen a great rise in esteem and attendance since COVID restrictions have started to lift all over the country. If you are someone who enjoys period-themed events, see if there is an event in your area for a Jazz Age brunch or the like. Many groups plan smaller events, so it does not feel as overwhelming either. Some groups may start out as a particular interest and evolve into a friend group over time as well. There are no limits to what you might find through these social media groups, and they are as easy to find by just searching for them on Facebook.
Concerts and Sporting Events
Another great space to connect with others can be arriving early at concerts or sporting events. The people attending or arriving early are interested in the band or team enough to take the time to get there ahead of time, and it could prove a shared joy. More than likely, if you both enjoy the band or team, you have other things in common. It can feel very uncomfortable to step out of your bubble and strike up a conversation, but you never know what might come of it either. Be courageous and start up the discussion; you have nothing to lose and only opportunity to gain.
The Next Door App is a revolutionary new app that helps you get to know your neighbors. It uses your zip code to show you those in your area, and many times there are other new people in the area or others hoping to make new connections. Say hello on one of these apps and even plan a block party or get-together. It used to be regular pre-COVID and would prove a gift and asset to bring back again now that we are entering back into the world.
Get to Know Your Co-Workers
If you have moved for a new job or career position, get to know your co-coworkers. If you are working in the same field, you may have other interests or hobbies that align outside of work as well. Grabbing a coffee on a break or appetizers after work one day might be an easy and soft way to get to know your colleagues and start new friendships.
Asking in Prayer
Ask God to bring about community above all else. God knows His children, and He can bring His people together in fellowship in wonderful ways. If you long for a good friendship or group, ask Him to bring who He has for you into your life. He knows your heart and their hearts best, for He created them, and it is beautiful how He can bring you friendship like you've never known.
Community is a gift, but it can sometimes feel like one you have to search for, like an Easter egg. Utilize the resources around you for connecting with people in good ways, and do not stray from asking God for ways to grow your circle. Take the risk to strike up a conversation when you feel prompted and see what God might have in store.
Today, we pray for the individual looking to foster and enjoy a good community in a new place. Lord, You have led them to this new town, city, or state for a particular reason, and Lord, we believe that this new place holds so much potential for their lives and for the Kingdom. Please help bring together Your children in fellowship and friendship through whatever means You deem correct. Lord, guide them to people who are kindhearted and healthy individuals who will only add to their lives, not detract. Please provide ideas, opportunities, and outlets in which they can feel comfortable stepping into prospects of meeting new people. Lord, please give them a strong spirit of discernment to be confident that those they are meeting are precisely the people You have for them. We pray that the purpose of community would prove true for this person in edifying blessing Your Kingdom ultimately. Thank You, Lord, for this person.
In Jesus' Name,
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.