@Valerie That’s a great point - just being intentional about remembering names and following up can make the difference in whether or not a person decides to return to Church.
Same experience here. Wow! I can relate to this thread big time! I even went to a bible study for a year and as soon as it was over … that was it.
I basically gave up going to church.
My work hours don’t work out for it very well anyways. I’ve gone to too many Sundays in the past to sit alone on a pew. Better to read a good book on theology or watch a good video by a Keller, Ravi, Craig, or even Wretched on you tube.
The interest in real spiritual matters is abysmal and if that interest is not there it becomes a mere club. I’m not looking for a solution from anyone however. I am not really expecting one. Paul was alone for years … a couple of Christian friends is much better I guess. I think just knowing that others have had the same experience is good to know. Maybe we build up too much of an ideal that isn’t really there. It’s like if you go to church with some friends or family then you are ok. Or, it takes the right personality type to fit in. In any case there are church goers that get wrapped up in church life that forget how to relate to the ‘world out there’ which isn’t much good either. Just a few thoughts. Thanks.
One of the reasons I saught to connect to this community is this very one. Doing all I can to fit in but still feeling out of place… Hope to get help too
Victoria_White, adding to much of what was said in this conversation, I find that it is not uncommon for the Lord to to use our struggles to show us where we need to grow. If we are lonely, we need to give support to those that are lonely…when we don’t feel love, we must love others…when we are impatient, we must show patience to others. Whatever we need more of in our lives, we must, with Christ’s help, give the very thing we need in order to find it. If we were already good at something, we wouldn’t need Christ. It is just like love. If we only loved those who were easy to love, we would never need Christ and we would never grow. Jesus loves us too much to keep us comfortable. He wants us to grow, stretch and be different from this world. Your loneliness drives you to want things to be different. It puts you in a situation where you are moved into a place of helplessness that drives you closer to God.
We have set up our churches to have “great speakers with the best programs”. We walk with the expectation that you will get “spiritually fed” and filled up when you walk into a church. And while sometimes our chruches may have those things, it is not intended be a one-way interaction. WE make up the church. All of us play a part as Christ intended. We are the hands a feet of Christ, serving eachother and then with that love and support, we can serve the world around us. What if I walked into church saying, I am the hands and feet of Jesus, What Lord, do you want me to see, hear, do, or feel today? Who does he want you see? meet? run into? Maybe you will try one group and find it the wrong spot for you…that is ok. Move on and see where the Lord is prayerfully moving you to.
Sit in that lonelyness and re-tell your “story” of loneliness. What do I mean by your “story?” I mean those things we tell ourselves about why we are going through something or feeling some way. What if we re-told that story through a different lens? What if you said to yourself that because of this loneliness, you will use it to serve others who may also be feeling the same way. It may be something that drives you to join small groups and/or try to serve in some capacity at the church until you find the right fit, sharing how you really feel with those who may be feeling the same way. Use your feelings for a purpose. God wants to do something with what you are feeling. He “works out all things for those who love Him and are called to His purpose” Believe Him. Give what you don’t have and see how great He is…and know that He will not keep you there forever.
@Brittany_Bowman1 I found your response very helpful Where can I watch Conversations That Count by Vince Vitale?
Awesome! I found it on the Hillsong Channel Now. If you don’t have it already, the first week is free.
This post, while it may sadden the heart a little, may also be encouraging in that many of the responses seem to be self-reflective first or point to self-examination. Perhaps the symptomatic theme of the loneliness of believers among believers is an indicator of a departure from Kingdom principles and practices. The King of the Kingdom (Christ Jesus) provided the number one rule of top priority to its citizens. John 13:34. It involved love. But not just an ordinary love.
Astoundingly at Colossae Paul, well after his personal encounter with The Christ, in which he personally attested to in meticulous detail of being changed from a blockhead to a citizen of the Kingdom, now exemplified and espoused certain behaviors Col 3:12-16. He drops to the next level of detail using specific words to illustrate what behaviors others should see and is expected from Kingdom citizens so that they may know, see, and experience what the King is like. In a small and unimportant city such as Colossae, which at the time engaged in intense religious practices, the opportunity for others to see the difference Christ made in the life of a believer was laid before them. The apostle encourages them to elevate the standard of behavior and living to that of the Kingdom. Was the opportunity seized? Was Christ evident? Did Christ make a difference? This is humbling and sobering in that the Kingdom is so pervasive and effective that the simple behavior of its citizens is enough to have a life changing impact on those that observe the work that has been wrought by King in the hearts of its citizenry. Should we consider revisiting the King’s approach?
Hi @billbrander, sorry for the long delay in replying!
Yes, that’s what we’re trying to do with RZIM Connect. I do trust that people will find great local church homes even through this community. I’m grateful for the conversations we can host here and the ways we can encourage one another. But, we believe the local church is invaluable and of critical importance. Hopefully we can gently and prayerfully help one another along to the point that we have the joy of good Christian friends where we live.
@FallenEmbers Yes its a real challenge. Coming from a different country and moving to different places, you have no choice but try to find a local churches regardless of your preferences. Creating connections and satisfying fellowship as a newcomer in a church is challenging. We went from one church to another one but we could not establish meaningful fellowship. Tired of constantly looking the better church we settled with the one we go now.
Absence from the church and/or fellowship I don’t believe is a sin however creates other issues that don’t help with your faith per my experience.
Although I still struggle with it, I decided to change myself first. I intentionally volunteered different programs and I agree with @WarnerMiller recommendation too. It exposes and gets you out of the comfort zone, but the reward is you might build the right fellowship as such you don’t feel alone.
We continue to attend same church, for about 2 years and try to make it to the small group, which in my view can be one of the solutions to loneliness. I think a church with functional and effective small groups is much stronger and influential than relying on Sunday services only.
Hope you find this helpful and keep the faith. God Bless you!
Hi Victoria, yes, yes, yes!!! Same experience, everyone says “hi, how are you?” And I know that we go to church primarily to worship the Lord, hear a message that will enhance our worship which is exactly what the believing Jews did during the lifetime of Jesus, but, He took his disciples WITH Him most of the time and after His resurrection believers met daily at the temple to worship but met together every night in ‘home churches’ to worship, fellowship, pray, eat, share. Corporate prayer can only be truly corporate if the entire body knows the other parts and cares for them. So, that is exactly my dilemma, I want to be a regular church goer but as a single woman, it seems hard to form friendships for ‘after church continued walks’.
Where do you live? Love, Carmen:dancer:
@Victoria_White - I’m with you on this topic. I feel lonely at church more than I would like to admit. It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one. My husband and I are so alike in that we don’t usually initiate conversation, so it makes it harder to connect with others. I sometimes think every other person feels the same way and nobody wants to feel vulnerable and maybe face rejection.
Don’t give up on church. Be intentional about communication like @WarnerMiller said. I have been diagnosed as being a social avoidant (but I don’t agree with labels necessarily), so I do kinda have to push myself to get out of my comfort zone most of the time, and on top of that I don’t have a very good filter and I tend to want to fill in those awkward quiet moments with any kind of “talk”, so I tend to embarrass my husband or any other person listening in. It gets tiring, but there is this one woman who always gives me a hug at church when she sees me. She makes me feel accepted and loved unconditionally.
We have recently started some small groups at our church, and I am so glad because if we had not done that I would probably want to find another church to find people to connect with as @CarsonWeitnauer talked about. I do think that it’s important to be part of a small group that you can get to know on a deeper level than someone that you may just share small talk with on Sunday mornings.
I am a loner, and introvert masquerading as an extrovert at work but in many situations I can be extremely socially awkward. I have experienced what you have experienced at church. Although my former husband didn’t always attend church with me, I felt I needed find a new church family. I attended mass at several different churches for many months to get a sense of which church was best for my spiritual development. After many months of feeling spiritually fed while attending daily morning mass at this one particular church I found myself with overwhelming feelings of sadness and crying every time I attended the Sunday Mass there. This was the only church where I experienced these contradictory emotions and I have no explanation. However, I have discovered that the fewer people attending mass, the more positive my experience as I am easily distracted. I have also found that if I sit in the front pew I become so engrossed in the mass that I have lost track of whether I’m supposed to be sitting, kneeling or standing.
I feel my life needs more local role models and friendships that will assist me in running the race I so desperately long to run for Jesus, (Community is necessary as Warner has duly noted.) I find solace in spending time praising, adoring and praising the Lord in an empty church. I believe that this longing to be closer to Jesus has brought me to this online platform. I have listened to the RZIM podcasts for about 7 years now and know without a doubt that I have been led here to be spiritually fed and to be used by God for HIS glory.
I hope this helps you on some level. You ARE not alone. Rely on the Lord. Ask Him to guide you. I will keep you in my prayers.
God bless you Victoria.
I agree with your recommendations to Victoria. It is sound advice and I am glad that you have become more involved in your spiritual community.