Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thoughts on Church

I love our church. I like our worship time there. I like learning from our pastor more about how to be a light, live out our faith as Jesus would have us do, and even challenge me in certain areas that I know I need (lots) of work. I like how our church works hard to include its members of all ages. From one week old to one hundred years old. I like that we got to know each member of our congregation individually as we took their portraits for our church directory last year.

However, I also don't feel guilty when we don't go -- not that we don't go often, but when we don't go, we have no real excuse for not going. The truth of the matter is, we don't have any real friends at our church. All our real friends attend different churches. I am fine with that because it helps to grow our family as Christians and opens our eyes to different Christian denominations who all serve the same Lord and Saviour. If we actually had friends at our church, would I be more excited about attending? I know church isn't about friends. It's about worship, but realistically, how many of us don't also look forward to going to church to catch up with friends. Maybe with the world of faceb**k, blogs, and all those other wonderful cyber tools, that's just it. We don't need to see our friends face to face anymore. Maybe I need to get used to friendship in a box. "Oh yes, we're friends because I can read Deborah's status post. I know what's going on in their lives. Therefore I don't need to pick up the phone or talk to them in person." Maybe someone can (nicely) tell me I'm out to lunch.

So yes, we're not in church this morning. We're going on a long drive to visit with a photographer friend this afternoon. Her new studio is set up and she's having an open house. Looking forward to it!

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

8 comments:

  1. Deborah,
    I can totally understand how you feel. We go to a mega church and it is hard to get to know people. You have to be involved in a small group so that you get that fellowship.
    My mom goes to a small church and I often go to see her on the weekends and enjoy visiting her. I really love her sunday school class. She is in the oldest class at the church and they are a hoot! Very wise group of people and great prayer warriors for sure.
    We are a society that puts a lot of emphasis on social networks. It is easier to pop out a status than to really touch somebody's heart by having a heart to heart talk.
    Enjoy your Sabbath rest.
    ~a

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  2. Oh Deborah, you won't get any condemnation from me for missing church once in awhile.

    I do think it's kind of sad, though, not to have any friends at church. You're right that it's healthy and good to have friends from other churches (and outside the church).

    Ironically, just this morning as the boys and I were driving to church we were talking about how glad we are to have so many friends at our "new" (2 years) church, because we really had very few at our previous church. Except for the neighbors that we still see (several times a week!), we really don't miss anyone. I don't know if that's just a function of us attending a much smaller church, or other factors. I can tell you, though, that we've made a concerted effort to build those friendships - having people over for meals, kids over to play, etc.

    You're absolutely right, though, that the purpose of church is to worship God, not to advance my social circle. Priorities :D

    Julie

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  3. You're right, church is about worship, but it's also about fellowship. Adam and I have had the exact conversations many times as you just shared. We have often been in places where church just wasn't a place where there was a sweet fellowship connection with friends. But, what you said about us as a culture connecting on FB and blogs is scarily true....I've often wondered if I don't call my friends as much as I used to b/c I see their statuses....hmmmm....good to know we're at least still asking these questions, don't you think? I think as long as we're aware and bothered by it, we'll keep from being complacent.

    I hope you enjoyed your time with family and friends today. Even though you didn't "do" church, doesn't mean the Lord wasn't glorified in your being together, enjoying His creation, enjoying His children.

    Blessings to you, beth

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  4. I can so relate to what you are saying we have had such a hard time finding a church we go to the closet one but have yet after a dozen visits to be approached or spoken to? and we have not made any friends since our move here... We try to start up conversations but people just want to say Hi and walk away so we have skipped some Sundays recently it is a tricky thing to describe. Sure church is not for just socializing but it should definitely be a place where we can connect and recharge and feel comfortable and most importantly Worship...after being beat up in the world all week long. I have thought about that also with all the modern ways to not really connect to people it leaves you wondering? ~Blessings Love Heather

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  5. Love what Heather said ... and have been thinking he same thing lately, especially living in a small town. (I am going to miss Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.)
    I suppose there will always be a part of me on a journey and perhaps I need to see how I am contributing to the problem, and yet ...

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  6. Friendship in a box seems to be God's plan for me as I've been without a single real life friend for over 5 years now. I have acquaintances in real life. Church is ideally where I'd like to make friends, but the people I know through friendship in a box are so much nicer and encouraging to me. I was belittled at church just this past Sunday by members of our SS class for homeschooling of all things! Never mind I do it because that's what the Lord placed on my heart. They ganged up on me and left me angry and hurt. I still enjoy attending church, although I am the only member of my family that ever goes through these kinds of experiences. Hubby has no trouble making friends, just me.

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  7. God's Word says it all, no facebook, blogs, twitter, email or whatever manner of "keeping" in touch can replace meeting together. God is immutable and therefore, so is His Word. The point of missing church from time to time for whatever reason is not the concern.

    But I must confess I am a little unclear about what you were exactly trying to say, other than the obvious. Was it your belief or the norm?

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  8. Living overseas, going to church (or not going) presents a totally different set of questions. When we are in the village, church meets every morning and every evening. We have chosen to attend as a family only every evening, while my husband attends by himself every morning. While in town, we only attend on Sunday mornings.

    We consider church attendance an issue of faithfulness and example to our children. It can be very difficult to worship and to be fed spiritually, especially when God's Word is read in a language other than English. There are many times I would rather stay home :-) So, we make it a point to sing hymns together as a family and to listen to sermons on CDs and to intentionally do things that re-connect us to the Lord. We struggle sometimes with going to church because we feel like we "have to", but we feel like this is the best decision for our family. Furlough should be interesting when our little ones enter into a totally different church situation!

    I'm so thankful that we can use technology to stay in touch with faraway (very faraway!) friends, but nothing replaces a hug and a meal and a shoulder to cry on.

    Great food for thought in this post! Thanks for opening up a sticky subject and approaching it with words that encourage and build up. Someday, I would like to be able to swing by your place and hug your neck!

    Joanna

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love to hear from my readers!

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