I read a blog post by someone who simply can’t make himself try to fit in church any more. His issues were understandable to me. When I’m in the local church, I feel some pressure to fit in. I have experienced some “group-think” in the local church, and I’m sure I’m not alone. And often, people who aren’t confident in their faith feel that it is too much effort to try to disagree.
Before coming to Oklahoma, Vicky and I moved to new cities a few times. We noticed that it was easier to connect and make friends in a new church, where all the relationships were in a state of flux, than it was in an established local church. We often felt more “outside” the established churches because of the challenge of adding new relationships into groups with long-established relationships.
What can we do about this?
Again, I wonder if this isn’t another area where we need to each adopt a ministry mindset. There are only so many staff members. In the end, relationships within a church can’t all be with the staff, unless the church is very small, or has a huge staff. At some point, people in the church, have to go out of their way, to become relationally sticky. If they’re attached to a number of other things, they just can’t attach to one more.
Where are you in this? In your local church service times and meetings, are you open to new relationships, or do you hang out with your good friends (read, the same old bunch)? Are you on the lookout for new friends and new opportunities to minister, or are you just there “to be fed?” Be honest about it. Then ask God what he would want you to do. Will there be a gap? We’re not just responsible for the people around us at work. It’s possible we need to be ministers some, in the our local church, too.