Over the last few months I’ve started going to a new church. I’ll be honest and say this process hasn’t been easy, but it also hasn’t been as hard as it might have been. I’ve learnt a lot about churches, people and myself, and I thought it was time to reflect on that a bit.
I don’t like large crowds of people. I already knew this, but I’ve realized more than ever than a growth group or bible study with a few people is much easier for me than a church service with 60 people.
It’s okay to low expectations of myself in terms of social interaction at church, as long as I get to church. Even if I need to leave five minutes after the service ends or arrive five minutes after it starts, that’s okay – meeting with God’s people is still good and valuable.
My favourite part of church is singing songs about Jesus – for similar reasons to why I like prayerbook services. I think the first function of a church service should be the family of God telling each other the truth we believe about Jesus – through song, through prayer, through reading the Bible.
I’m not sold by the concept of a traditional ‘sermon.’ I don’t think it’s the best way to hear the truth about Jesus, encourage each other and grow in him. It would be different if it wasn’t so hard to preach a good sermon – but it is.
The first conversation isn’t hard. It’s the second, third, fourth conversations that transition into building a relationship that is hard.
People are generally friendly and kind. People are also busy and already in relationships. That’s okay. There will be people with space in their lives for you. Keep meeting people and you’ll find them.
If you’re going to a new church…
Taking it slowly is okay. You won’t feel connected and at home straight away – commit to a certain number of weeks before giving up. Inconsistent attendance is better than nothing.
Small steps all add up. Be friendly and open to possibilities. Keep persisting.
If you’re welcoming new people…
Be willing to not just have that first conversation with someone, but the third and fourth as well.
If you don’t have the energy or room in your life for a new relationship, connecting them with someone who does is a good idea.