Bowling Green native, Natalie Perkins, has been a part of Real Life Church for nearly three years now. Despite having no intention of becoming connected or getting involved, she has become a youth leader on the StudentLife team and a participant of the Room in the Inn ministry. “[In 2014,] I was attending another church…I thought I would be moving for graduate school. I didn’t want to get involved, or put in the time and effort to get connected [to RLC] if I wasn’t going to be here for much longer.” As fate would have it, a friend’s car ended up in the shop and Natalie graciously gave her a ride to RLC, thinking that would be the one and only time she would step foot in the door. However, she found that she loved the small church next door to Southern Lanes, and became a vital part in the youth and homeless ministries.
In the time since her first visit, she has learned what it means to simultaneously be a mentor and a servant. When she is volunteering with the youth, she fosters an environment of individuality, acceptance, and fun, but also of “real talk” and meaningful conversations about faith. “It’s rewarding to see spiritual growth, and knowing that I get to be a part of it by simply serving [the youth].” Additionally, as she serves with RITI, she gets to observe RLC live out what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. “I’m so humbled to be able to serve the community as part of a church that lives and serves just like Christ.”
While serving is a major part of her daily life, it isn’t all that she does. Natalie stays very busy, even during her down time, because she is living a true WKU graduate life: Papers, projects, and very little sleep. Therefore, most days that are not spent at Real Life Church are filled with research studies on self-harm and suicide, which will ultimately help her finish a Master’s in Psychology, with a concentration in Clinical Science. Despite the time-consuming degree, she still focuses a lot of attention on playing with and walking her dog Riley at the dog park, reading a book for pleasure, and even trying out a baking recipe. So it is quite miraculous that she manages to find time for RLC’s mission of reaching out to the community. But she is passionate about that mission, and grateful that she gets to see it come to fruition. “I see so much hurt and discontent with Christianity, working and learning in such a secular environment,” and she wants to witness a diminishing of those misconceptions. Through her learning and volunteering experiences, Natalie is seeking to help close the gap between society and faith. Her determination to see the Gospel spread landed her in the Spotlight this month. Let’s send her a thanks for her patience, gentleness, perseverance, and loyalty!