Worshiping in a sanctuary full of one thousand+ people that I don't know feels strange.
I grew up in the same church for thirteen years (since it was founded) and before that I was too young to care about connecting and all of the things that matter later.
(Heck, when we've been going to the same church, we even like the fact that we know exactly where the bathrooms are & we don't have to go on a scavenger hunt in the middle of the service because we know where nothing is.)
Now I'm in my mid-twenties and and I'm starting over, from the ground up, and it's hard.
I love people and fellowship but somehow, someway, my 40% introvert side kicks in on Sunday mornings (or maybe its just fear) and I find myself walking out the exit door much too quickly without having learned a single name.
Let's just be real honest: changing churches at any age or season is just plain hard.
Maybe you're in this same season, whether you're in your mid-twenties or not.
I've talked to many people adjusting to new surroundings whether it's going off to school & having to find a new church then,
being newly married, moving states away & changing churches then.
Or, you're venturing out on your own because you feel called to a particular ministry opportunity.
No matter what it is, it's hard. The unfamiliar is always hard.
But we've gotta remember that the hard is no excuse.
A church is not designed to be a place on Sundays where we "hit & run." A place we hide, content that no one knows our name or history.
But the idea of starting all over again, investing in new relationships, going to strange & new gatherings, can cause us to revert to "hit & run" onlookers on Sunday mornings.
I'm writing this in the midst of a particularly hard Sunday afternoon (real talk here).
I tossed & turned last night knowing that Sunday morning was coming. The burden on my heart was growing & the thirst for community & the fellowship of other young people & the opportunities to serve & invest & be known.
Funny thing is that I had already planned to write this for this particular week not knowing what kind of burdens & feelings would be in my heart the day before I wrote it.
But I've never waited to write til I get it all figured out because that's just not life.
So I'm just going to be writing straight from the things God has put on my heart in the midst of trying to put them into practice because they're truth.
First of all: pray & present before God all the desires & burdens & sadnesses & fears & watch Him work.
Second: if you're in a Bible believing, Bible teaching, good church, begin to invest & take the opportunities available to get involved. This is really hard, especially if you're on your own, but just do it (thank you, Nike).
Third: don't wait for people to make that first introduction or to reach out (even if you think they should). Take the initiative and introduce yourself & ask questions.
Fourth: follow up. Move beyond Sunday mornings & if you've made some connections with people there, follow up with them. Go out to coffee with them (coffee makes instant friends), invite them over, invest in making those friendships.
Fifth: serve within the church. This is one of the best ways to get involved with other people serving within the church & to begin giving to the body of Christ.
My heart goes out to your overwhelmed heart if you're in this season. It's all a part of the journey & growth & seeing God's faithfulness.
Just hang on & pray, invest, give, & love.
Let's watch what Jesus does to flourish this season of transition.