I haven’t done a FaithFueled™ Friday in a long time it’s been so busy with school that writing is the last thing I want to do lately. After a phone call with my friend I had to dust off the keyboard and share my thoughts. The other day I was speaking to a friend who just moved to a new state. She is having a hard time making new friends and thought the Church that her family decided to attend would be a great place to look.
Why wouldn’t she believe that people of the same beliefs would want to fellowship?
She has been there for a few months and has made lots of effort to be apart of the Church community only to find there is no such thing as Church community at her Church at least not how we would have it defined.
“No one hangs out with anyone at Church they come on Sunday’s to worship and then go about their lives,” After she said that; it made me think my Church is very similar. We worship together on Sunday and then don’t check in until the following Sunday unless you’re in Bible Study. It’s kind of like out of sight out of mind which is a real relationship but more of an acquaintance. We know very little about the people we worship with other than surface things. There is no longer that sense of community that the Church once brought to families and towns.
I have been attending my Church for four years and have only been invited to three families homes outside of a Church function (and I include a Direct Sales party) if not it would only be two invites in four years, and that’s just sad. Or is it? Is this commonplace? When did the Church stop being a place for believers to fellowship and do a life and a place to just check in every Sunday?
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47
The church isn’t what it used to be!
In Biblical days churches, temples and synagogues were the epicenters for most towns. It’s where the taxes were collected, food was given, functions were held, and people gathered together daily to fellowship. Your Church family was like your extended family, and the fellowship didn’t end on Sunday you saw these people in your life on a daily basis.
The Church is no longer an integral role in society. It’s not a place where people come to every day but usually on the day of worship. Then we go off to our own lives, friends, and families. The bonds that we uniquely share in our love for Jesus and place of worship is where it ends.
Check in at Church
Now, I have to be fair in the four years that I have been at my Church I had not done my due diligence to grow and foster relationships. In the first two years as I attended my Church I would reach out often, I had IF gatherings in my home, bible study walks, I tried everything to find some Christian friends at my house. The experiences were great but never really made connections; not long lasting.
Why? We have lives outside of our Church Identity. In our busy society, most of us are too busy for friends much less to deal with people in our Church that we barely know. We get caught up so much in our things to do that we don’t reach out to connect with each other. Not just at Church but in all of the society.
This is another way for the enemy to attack he makes us think that the people at the Church are wrong and we don’t need the Church for our salvation. We do! We need the accountability, reminders, and direction. People can be judgemental, but if you don’t have any sinners who attend your Church, you may want to find a new Church. That is why we are their awe of our redemption we are not perfect we are people we all have our struggles. Jesus loves us all the same and wants us to be together in His kingdom one day.
I can no longer justify other peoples actions affecting my church attendance. I don’t attend my Church for the weekly check-in but to get some time to praise, worship and honor God although I don’t feel community there I still attend because of the Message. Recently, God has been pricking my heart on this subject I can’t continue to be like others it’s one of those situations it’s never the job it’s always the people. There will always be people but if you expect people to treat you like you treat yourself you’re going to be disappointed. You must show grace to fellow members and even sometimes mercy.
Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins.
1 Peter 4:8
A lonely society
We are living in a lonely world. We can be surrounded by people but disengaged on our phone. We can stand in a crowd but feel utterly alone because we as a society are isolating ourselves. Filling our time with things to do instead of meaningless relationships when we are all seeking a meaningful relationship. We were meant to be with each other, lead each other, teach each other and do life together. The sad part is most of us feel alone yet we won’t reach out to each other to fill the loneliness.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
1 Corinthians 1:10
It’s also apparent with the amount of time spent on Social media to fill our need for relationships. I am very guilty of that after I went to countless Bible studies, events, and opportunities to fellowship I would leave each time knowing that the connection ended there, so I went to the internet.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Need more than a Virtual Relationship
I am intentionally (and unintentionally) in lots of facebook groups for all of my interest with the common motivator for joining is to connect with like-minded people. I have also been in Virtual Bible Studies, Mentorships, Accountability Groups and we all were there for the same thing companionship but if you were to get us in a room together not one of us would exchange numbers and actually follow up to get to know the person better.
I feel we are all living surface lives just doing enough to touch the surface never really getting to know someone. If we did if we followed up with connections, made phone calls and not text or emails. Sat down in person one on one and got to know somebody we may find that best friend that we crave.
So, what is keeping us from continuing these connections?
Get Up and Do Something
Effort and energy we have become such a lazy society that we don’t want the work of building and maintaining relationships we want surface friends. You can log on and log off when you want. You can only share the good and never the bad. There is no threat of if they’ll like you for who you are because you give them the who they want to see. The same goes for Church you show up dressed nice, proclaim your hallelujahs, make small chat before and after church and never follow up. Never put the extra effort or work it takes to create a community.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Why not start now?
We need to unite people and not just over what hot political topic there is but we need to unite amongst ourselves if we are going to be God’s army. The enemy wants us to live separate, be surface and vain. He is trying to make us think “we’re connected” through our disconnected online relationship, but we are fooling ourselves. God has told us to fellowship together, sharpen each other and prepare to do battle together.
One day at Church invite someone over for brunch, get to know someone a little better than Sunday chit-chat. Reach out to them for coffee or a park date to learn and possibly grow in Christ together. Behind the screen, connections can be valuable, but we need to be with people in real time and do real life.
Don’t wait for the next Church function to reach out to your brother or sister in Christ. Although, the Church is no longer the epicenter of our life. Christ is, and we need to love each other as Jesus loves us. We need to know each other because we need to be prepared to unite and stand up when called. We must mend the brokenness of our Christian communities and keep the tight-knit and secure. The way we do that? You, start today and reach out to someone in your Church. Let’s start living a life of a real community.
How do you maintain community in your church? Do you find it hard to maintain relationships?