Our pastor has begun a new series about the importance of going to church. I have loved it so far, but I am also a proponent of going to church and getting connected with people. I have done a lot of thinking about this recently and wanted to share a few things with you.
We are fairly new to the area - here just two years. We came from a place where we had been for 8 years and were deeply connected at our church and school. It is hard to leave a place like that - especially when, growing up, you never lived anywhere longer than 3 years!
When we moved, I wanted it to feel just like other places we left, where we could jump right in, make connections with people, and feel like we belonged. But, alas, that wasn't to be. You don't have instant friends. People don't know your experiences and what you have to offer. You are not asked to help take a meal to a family in need or to fill in somewhere. I wanted people to instantly love me and take me in, trust included.
But coming to a new place, I have learned the learning to fit in aspect comes mostly from within. You have to spend time with people you don't know. You have to reach out to people. You have to volunteer for things. Sometimes you have to overlook first impressions, or second, or third. You have to push through, even when you think no one notices you. You have to be persistent in situations, because life is busy for everyone. You HAVE to step out of your comfort zone! And you have to trust people you don't know. It is NOT easy! And this is all within a body of believers! WOW! No wonder so many people don't connect and stop coming to church. They are waiting for someone to reach out to them.
I have been challenged and I am challenging you. Reach out to people you meet. Try to remember names (that is a hard one for me). Be the one that makes an effort first. Make a connection with someone you don't know very well (even if you are new, they might be new too). Even an email or message on facebook helps with that connection (just don't let it be the only connection).
What can you do this week? How can you be the hands and feet of Christ to someone around you?