I love to write, & I love to share my thoughts (musings?) with others. And yet… for most of 2021 I didn’t blog. Instead, I put together at least 1 video post/week, along with my staff, on our church’s YouTube page (you can check it out HERE if you’re interested.)
In the last few weeks of each year, I like to take stock of my life & purpose to make changes to better fit my goals, values, etc… Not “New Year’s Resolutions” per se; rather, intentional, on-purpose life adjustments. Things to stop. Things to start. One thing I am aiming to do in 2022 is to write, to blog again. So here I go.
This week, a friend texted me a question & the answer would have been way to long for this guy to text back…. so I wrote him a letter (an email, really) with an answer that I hope will be helpful. I know he’s not the only one asking this question (I’ve heard it from many, many people over my 22 years pastoring. This isn’t the ONLY answer – every situation is a little different… & the answers I’m offering are 100% my opinion, though I hope they are rooted in not only my experience but also in scriptural principles.
First, the question:
“Do you have thoughts on helping people handle changing seasons & church relationships? I have three different friend groups that all started in (campus/college ministry group) that have all recently ran into hiccups or issues after COVID & all of them appear to be at “restart” phases of finding church or belonging.. They find it hard to be motivated to go to church because they don’t have any connected relationships. Any thoughts or ideas?”
- Ask a trusted Christian, church-going friend who is in a local church community – can I come to church with you for a bit to get my bearings? Go there & give it a month or two, minimum..
- Do you have any connections at a local church? People you know already, friends attending somewhere?Go there & give it a month or two, minimum..
- If not, are there any churches near you that are familiar (denomination, worship style, philosophy, values, etc) to you? Go there & give it a month or two, minimum..
- If not, ask God for bravery, boldness, & direction & FIND a church in your city (near or far doesn’t matter, but nearer, aka less than 30 minutes away, is probably best. Then commit yourself to go & participate in the life of the church – attending church but also trying a small group; staying for fellowship opportunities; looking for others with their ‘connectors’ out.
No church is perfect; it is often messy & requires people to really commit to the process of church, having thick skins & perseverance, to be willing to repent & to extend grace to others. It will require giving of yourself, extending yourself, stepping into potentially lonely situations (at least initially). & then not quitting.
Hope there’s something in here that helps…