POST ALERT – this won’t help if you’re not willing to look at it objectively.
“I don’t feel connected and a part of the church…”
As a pastor, one of the things I hear often is, “I’m thinking about leaving because I don’t have any friends, and I don’t feel connected to the church.”
I agree that some churches don’t have a healthy culture, making it hard to connect. However, I want to approach this from the one perspective that we have the power to change, and that is, we may be the reason we’re feeling disconnected.
I want to say not to offend anyone, but if you are offended, it may be that there’s a hurt that needs to be healed, or it may be an indication of something in you that needs to be changed.
Things that affect our ability to connect…
1. Personalities – if you’re shy and don’t push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and be friendly, it will affect how connected you feel.
2. Time – if you don’t make the time to stay and fellowship you’re never going to build relationships.
3. Involvement – if you’re not involved in any ministry in the church, you’re never going to feel connected to it.
4. Faithfulness – if you’re always hit and miss and rarely come to church, you’re more of a visitor than a member, and you’ll have a difficult time connecting.
5. Attitude – if you allow yourself always to be the victim, you’ll for sure feel disconnected, and it will affect the way people perceive you (full-time victims are a drain and are hard to connect with).
6. Mindset – if you’re resistant to church culture and don’t operate outside of your few friends, it will be challenging to feel a part of the church.
7. Doctrine – if you don’t align your life with what the church teaches and believes, you’ll naturally struggle to fit in with the rest of the body (how can two walk together except they agree?).
Hard questions that require honest answers…
1. Are you faithful to church? Be honest.
2. Do you come late and leave early?
3. When you’re there do you show yourself friendly?
4. Do you go out of your way to talk to people or wait for them to come talk to you?
5. Do you ever invite anyone out to eat after church or decline when others invite you?
6. Are you involved in any ministry?
7. Do you attend church dinners and fellowships or avoid them?
8. Do you go to any church events outside of regularly scheduled services?
9. Will you fellowship with anyone or does it have to be a certain select group of people or no one at all?
10. Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder and are you easily offended?
Observations about friendships and connections in the church…
1. Everyone, at times, due to circumstances and changes in life, will not feel as connected as they want to be – this even includes pastors and pastor’s wives – but don’t quit.
2. Friendships, and feeling a part, requires time and effort on our part – we can’t refuse to work at relationships and expect them to just happen on their own.
3. Getting connected will only go as far as you’re willing to go – the church has many opportunities for people to fellowship and get involved, we just have to do it.
4. People who leave a church because they don’t feel a part will almost always get to the next place and feel the same way – the truth is, in spite of all our excuses of why it’s not us, we’re usually the problem.
5. All our arguments and justifications of why we don’t feel connected don’t change the facts – it may or may not be us, but whatever it is we need to be willing to look at it objectively if it’s ever going to get better.
6. The church is full of people just like you that would love to be connected – believe the best in yourself and in others and I promise you’ll start to feel like you belong.
Brian Labat is the Lead Pastor at Calvary United Pentecostal Church, a vibrant apostolic church in Addison, IL. You can follow his articulate posts on Facebook and Twitter.
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