It wasn’t something I intentionally set out to do. On the contrary, I love church, I love fellowship, I love God and all He stands for. My family and I were part of a “church family” for 15 years. We stayed after on Sundays and helped clean up, we filled in where needed, we washed dishes at the annual church-wide Thanksgiving Dinner, we helped with the youth, we served time in the nursery (some of you will relate to my wording there), I sang in the choir, I sang on the worship team, I led a women’s Bible study, whatever we were asked…we did. Because that’s how a church body works.
And then we moved 2000 miles away from our church family, and had to start over. That was 5 years ago, and I still feel like a “visitor” in what we call our “home church.”
We have been to 5 churches, and it’s downright embarrassing when someone asks us “where we’re going to church now?” But we can’t find our “fit.”
I’m not looking for perfection, I’m not working on an emotional response. I’m not trying to replace my “first love” of our last church, because I know it had flaws too. But I’ve never before experienced a point where I just didn’t feel compelled to go to church. And my kids feel it too. Of course, they’re older now, being pre-teen and teen aged, and having to get up on the weekend and get ready for church doesn’t exactly elicit cheers from them. But it’s more than that.
There is no connection. No real, connection.
They don’t even know the names of most of the kids they go to Sunday school with, and they NEVER mention them…ever!
The churches where we live tend to be much bigger than we’re used to, bordering on mega-church status. And I have to admit that, though large churches have their advantages of a vast number of “activities,” I find that people get lost in all that “busyness.” It’s easy to fall through the cracks, even if you do try to get plugged in, it takes so much longer to make any real connections than in their smaller counterparts.
I’m really at a loss as to what to do. We can’t keep searching. My daughter caught me checking out a smaller church, closer to our home, and she flipped. Not because she has made so many good friends at our current church (she can’t even name one of them) and she would hate to leave them, but because she’s just tired of switching, as are my husband and me. It isn’t fair to them, or to us.
I’ll admit that the big churches are intimidating to me, and I’m a rather social person. But getting plugged in to the right connections seems nearly impossible.
I want to lean on one another, and experience each other’s lives. Not just the cleaned-up version that people present on Sunday, but the dirty version you are on Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the week.
I can’t figure out if it’s a symptom of the area we live in, or if it’s a symptom of the age were living in.
We’ve prayed about this, believe me we have. And we’ve had no clear answers.
So, I wonder what church we will “visit” tomorrow? Should we go to our “usual church” and blend into the background, smile politely and shake hands, knowing that those relationships will probably never go any further than that? Or should we let the kids sleep in, and just my husband and I go to the “new” church up the street?
If anyone has any useful suggestions as to how they changed churches successfully, I’d love to hear them. Because I’d like to get rid of my “visitor” name tag one of these days.