Sunday, February 4, 2018
Why I Don't Want to Go to Church
I love Jesus.
I love God's word.
I love worship music.
I love expositional Bible teaching.
But I don't love going to church.
This is not an easy post to write because... Well, it's just not. I don't enjoy criticizing the church and God's people. But this is something that I feel strongly about.
Three years ago, I decided to move us from our mega church to a smaller church closer to home. My intention was that Michaela and I would have a more intimate church home in which we could make good friends. The church I chose for us was so much of what I was looking for - wonderful worship music, great preaching with an emphasis on expository teaching (chapter by chapter and verse by verse teaching as opposed to topical teaching), and small enough for us to not get lost in the crowd. I can't speak highly enough of the pastoral and non-pastoral staff, and the great programs they have for kids. It also has an awesome K-8 school that Michaela now attends.
After about six months of attending, I signed Michaela up for Vacation Bible School and I volunteered to help out. I thought that experience would help us make some new friends. However, it was almost a year later when we finally made any friends from church.
While that friendship was flourishing, I was still keenly aware that the other acquaintances we had at church were not developing into anything more. I attended a couple of women's Bible studies, continued to volunteer in Sunday School classes once a month or more, but gained no friends. People would say hello in service, or while passing in the halls (sometimes), but that was it.
Now, I have to admit that I am an introvert. I'm not painfully shy by any means, but I am reserved. Nevertheless, at church I would go out of my way to talk to others. Some people returned the friendliness, but many were aloof. If I have to generalize about who was typically friendly, I would have to say that the older people are. While the people closer in age to me were the ones that are aloof.
I do realize that it could just be me.
Maybe I am socially awkward.
Maybe I say or do things that prevent acquaintances from becoming friends.
That is possible.
But while that may be part of the equation, I think there could be more to it than that.
Maybe people are uncomfortable with me because I'm widowed.
Maybe they would prefer to socialize with families that have a wife and a husband.
Maybe they are comfortable with the group of friends they already have, and they aren't looking to have anymore friends.
Those are my impressions.
I have noticed that we have fewer and fewer visitors each week and that there are more empty seats than I remember when we first began attending. Maybe my perception is wrong, but I think that other people may be feeling like I am.
So for now, I don't want to go to church.
And that makes me sad.
I know that God has told us believers that he wants us gathering together (Hebrews 10:25). That when we come together, we can be an extended family, and a source of encouragement and help to one another. The Bible says we are the body of Christ. That means so much, but one of the things it means is unity. Being together is part of being in unity.
I am praying that if we do move to Idaho that we will be planted in a church with solid Bible teaching, wonderful worship music, great kids programs, and friendly people. Because widows (and kids without both parents) need good friends to do life with - friends that share our values and beliefs. Friends who like to have fun. Friends who can forgive us when we are not at our best. Friends who can point us back to Jesus when we get off track.