NNP aka Niki's North Point.

I remember conversations when Michael and I made the transition back to Atlanta full time. Where would we go to church? Small? Big? Would we go to a smaller church where people would know our name? Or would we stick with the big church? A place we’ve already known? But how do we meet people? Will we get lost? No really… the building is so big. Ultimately we weighed the pros and cons of each option and couldn’t get away from the main principle: we love Andy Stanley’s purpose and message.

Pre Michael, I spent many Sundays on the right hand side of Buckhead church. If you’re under the age of 35ish, it’s typically where you’d find the young crowd. A lot of times my eyes were half open coming straight from the airport. Other times I admit I watched from my couch. So I was “there” but didn’t really feel “there”. I know a lot of young people struggle with the “big” church concept and often feel confused of how they can fit in. It’s difficult to navigate but I have life changing advice: serve.

Life finally slowed down a bit and allowed me to consistently (<-- key word) plug into a place I love a la North Point Community Church. In the summer I signed up for a four -year ride and began serving as a small group leader for high school freshmen. They’ll be my little darlings and I’ll be their mama bear (along with a great co-leader) over the next 4 years. I’ve been attending meetings, “hosting” on Sunday nights for the high school ministry and it’s more rewarding than any stadium I’ve ever worked in. They’re also my toughest crowd :)

I finally have a women’s small group, which is something I’ve yearned and needed for a long time! Finally! A network of women I can lean on, cry on and rely on. I love how we come from all walks of life: married, single, divorced, babies, no babies, etc. We all have our struggles and we all have our battles, but we fight them together. I never would’ve met these women if I hadn’t been serving at North Point. Time has never allowed for this type of commitment or relationship and I’m already forever grateful for my group.

Lately people who are imperfectly perfect consistently surround me. They love me, encourage me, and lift me in ways I’ve selfishly needed for so long.

I’ve struggled with having “peace” in my life for a few years. There were always moving parts, inconsistency in general, and this overwhelming feeling of having to keep up with everyone about everything. It was exhausting and I wasn’t happy. I felt empty. I felt alone with the exception of the core girlfriends I’ve had for a long time. I felt like I had more situational (dinner? birthdays?) friends than intentional (no really… how are you doing and how can I pray for you?) friends. I’m a sucker for quality over quantity and North Point introduced me to some of the most quality people around.

In sum plugging in, serving and giving back to North Point Community Church has brought the most peace and I’m talkin’ real peace to my life. I look forward to my Tuesdays, Sundays, social events in between to see these intentional people I love with all of my heart.

It’s opened a window of a new family and I simply can’t imagine life without them.

So here’s the kicker: when you give back, serve and selflessly put others before yourself, it gives you the greatest peace of all. It’s science. No not science. It’s Him. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you and you feel it. You just do. It allows you to find a consistency in your heart you never knew existed. You have accountability partners, couples and leaders who keep you on an intentional path and you’re all striving towards the same goal. To live in love and carry out a life that glorifies Him.

I encourage every single soul to find that peace, to give back and get plugged in. It opens windows of opportunities and relationships a plenty and life seems incredibly more meaningful. It could be your life changing moment you’ve been looking for. It could be that life changing open hand you’ve been longing to hold. It could be that life changing relationship with Him you’ve been searching for. It could be those life changing friends you've been waiting for. And it could be that life changing moment where you finally find peace and it puts an end to your anxiousness and worry about tomorrow.

So thank you North Point for your fearless leader and all of your servants. You are daily giving people like me peace and a place to call home.

Oh and if you don’t belong to a church? Or you don’t do the church thing? Serve. Anywhere. If you’re looking for peace or answers, you’re bound to find them by selflessly giving back to others.

“The value of life is measured by how much is given away.” 

“Happiness comes from peace with God, peace with myself and peace from others.”

– Andy Stanley