I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. As we sat over coffee we poured our hearts out to each other – our worries, our cares and our concerns for family, marriages and careers. We sat there in the coffeehouse just shaking our heads. We were nearly in tears several times.
When I left the coffeehouse, I went home with a very heavy heart. It was well into the wee morning hours when I finally settled down to sleep. It is so easy to look at what is wrong in our lives and in the world. Children following the crowds, unfulfilled careers, the pressure in marriages, the reality of the aging body and more can be burdens we all struggle with. And the world is polluted with crime, war, disease, greed and so many despicable things.
But it was good to see my friend. It was good to sit across from her and see another sister in Christ who would be so open with me and someone I could be open with too.
When we ended our time together, I told her that I now know how to pray for her and she knows how to pray for me. We drew strength from each other and strength from our faith.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 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.
I’ve been thinking about my church membership and connections lately. I changed churches three years ago because I moved. The church I previously attended was about 35 minutes away. I didn’t want to drive across town to get there. I used the excuse that it was too far to be very involved. When in reality, my heart just wasn’t in it. I was having a hard time making meaningful connections in the church. I felt as if I could be gone for a month of Sunday’s and no one would notice.
I have been a member of four churches in my lifetime. The church I grew up in as a child was mostly family – connections were built in. But I have been a member at three churches as an adult. Each time I look around at who is in my new member’s class – provided the church offers one. A year later I look to see who is still there. Oftentimes some of the people are no longer around.
The thought occurred to me that people can find it hard making connections in church. But when you understand about church membership and the great commission, and you take that to heart that you should get involved in your church’s missions and programs to show God’s love. Whether it’s feeding the hungry with a soup kitchen, providing clothes in a clothing bank, offering a listening ear through a Stephen’s Ministry program you are the hands and feet of God’s love.
So how do you make connections at church?
First and foremost, understand that church membership is unlike any other kind of membership. As a Christian you are called to service.
Find a ministry interests you. Typically churches have lots of different ministries. Finding something that interests you and get involved. If you see there is a ministry need in the church, talk to the pastor about starting that ministry. Create a ministry to fill a need.
Take a class at the church. Many churches offer classes. Leadership training classes, Bible study classes, or spiritual gifts class. People connect with each other when they are learning and growing together.
Attend your church’s prayer service. Nothing binds hearts together like praying together. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk about your prayer needs and learn the needs of others, you begin to develop bonds.
Join a Sunday School class. Adult Sunday School classes are mostly discussion around a book or scriptures. It is a great way to learn about new people.
Ephesians 4:16 “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”