It appears I've gotten a little off track with my Inspire Us Tuesdays series - but I promised myself I would finish to the end! So today's topic is:
Becoming a New Church Member: Tell us about joining your church and the beginning days of your time there. Was it easy or hard to get to know other women?
Becoming a new church member, or even visiting a new church for the first time, is always daunting. Jason and I tried a few churches in both cities we lived before finding one we would stick with, and I remember walking in to an unfamiliar place, wondering if I was going to like the sermon, the music, the kids area. But the part that always made me most uncomfortable was having to shake hands with a bunch of people I didn't know. I know why we do this in Baptist churches, but as someone who had no idea who these people were, I always hated it!
Anyway, I have become a member of a very large church and an average size church. Larger churches are incredibly daunting, but they are also really good at informing their members of what is going on. They have schedules everywhere of upcoming retreats, Bible studies, groups you can be involved in. They really encouraged you to find a smaller group, either a Sunday school class (there were probably a hundred of them and you could choose which one you wanted to be a part of) or a Bible study so you could get to know people better. We really tried, but found ourselves having a hard time getting to know people, but it wasn't the church's fault. We just didn't know how to insert ourselves into a group and we weren't prepared to really be involved.
At our current church, we had been there as youth, so our experience was a little different than most visitors. There were many our own age we didn't know and we didn't mind becoming a part of things almost immediately. We volunteered and tried to make friends as quickly as we could. It's still hard though - for some reason, in a church setting, making friends and getting to know people almost seems harder and is a longer process than any other environment. It took a while, and even after a year and a half, we are still in the process of forming friendships and becoming a part of things.
I have to remind myself sometimes to look out for people I don't know and I am sometimes really bad at introducing myself to visitors and making them feel welcome. We are just in church, trying to keep our kids quiet, trying to pay attention to our own selves and I think it's easy to forget that people are there, watching how you are, wanting so badly for someone to talk to them, introduce themselves, be invited to lunch, any type of connection. I pray about being better at that myself, because I want that type of connection from others, but I need to give it back in return.
What about you? Did you have a good experience finding your church?