If you’ve been attending church for a while, and maybe even tried a Bible study or attended a small group once, but you still can’t find that feeling of “belonging” or “connection” then here are some thoughts…
Real relationships require more than just showing up on Sunday morning and seeing each other in the lobby after church. It’s sharing meals, laughing till it hurts, showing up when life hurts, and you know…just being around the people who allow you to be…YOU. We all know the value of real, lasting friendships.
I’m convinced that if you want to get the most out of your relationship with God, or out of your experience with church, then you must make real relationships a priority.
When we take time to invest in other people, and when we are together often enough, we will begin to grow into a strong community that serves and grows together. And in most cases, the “belonging” or “connection” we are looking for is actually waiting for us, but we have to show up outside of Sunday morning.
True friendship, belonging, and connection can’t be established or maintained if you only see each other on Sunday morning. Attending church might help you experience God, but if you don’t re-arrange your schedule to invest in friendships, then you’ll continue to feel disconnected from the people of God and from the church.
Most people are just trying to keep up the hustle. We run and gun all week long with lists of things to do, places to be, and activities for the kids. We think we have friends because Facebook tricks us into thinking we know people, but we don’t.
Imagine finding and enjoying friendships again…the kind you haven’t had since college. Imagine sitting back and thanking God for
…the silly moments
…the late night runs to Denny’s
…the spitting out your water because that joke was so outrageous moments.
…the people who will always be with you, no matter what.
Hey, college is over, but great friendships don’t have to be.
When we started Oasis, I never thought it would become a place where people showed up on Sunday morning and said hey to the same ole’ people, and never saw them again until the following Sunday.
Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let church become a place of names, faces and empty conversations. Don’t become the person who attends church for a while, and then quits because you don’t get that “feeling” anymore. Don’t be let down because you didn’t build incredible friendships in your 15 minutes of “catching up” before or after church. That’s not fair. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to the people you could have had a genuine friendship with.
When I was new to church, they had VIP tents, t-shirts, gifts, and all kinds of stuff to make me feel valued. But at some point, they stopped sending the marching band to celebrate my arrival. I wasn’t “new” anymore. And this is the point when making real connections, making real friends became MY responsibility.
What if I told you that you were one step away from making some of the best friends of your life? Would you clear your calendar and make room for them at your dinner table? Would you be the one to reach out and invite someone to coffee? Instead of making excuses, would you just make it work?
Most churches promote small groups, they have classes, they host lunches, and they do special events. Heck, I’m sure every church could do more of this, but the reality is, it’s not the churches job to manufacture relationships. We can’t create a feeling of connection and belonging for everyone.
If you want to feel connected, you have to make it a priority.
And if you want to feel like you belong, you have to do more than show up to church twice a month. You gotta put forth the effort. Join a small group. Go to Sunday school. Attend midweek Bible Study. Make it a priority to show up and invest in people.
None of this is easy, but I think the best way to get connected and feeling that sense of belonging is by taking ownership of it for yourself instead of waiting on someone else to make it happen for you.
Also, donuts. Donuts make friends.