A common phrase that pastors hear when a family leaves their church is “We just don’t feel connected.” I’ve heard it countless times. When a family makes this statement to me I always ask the following four questions. The answer inevitably is almost always no to each. Here they are:
`1. Are you serving in an area regularly? I’m not talking about passing out bulletins once a month as a greeter. I’m talking about substantially serving in a ministry within the church. There’s something about serving alongside one another that allows you to get to know one another and feel connected.
2. Are you part of a small group? Most churches have small groups or Bible studies that you can be a part of. This is crucial for families to move from being anonymous in the church to being known and knowing others. These small group settings offer the opportunity to get real about life and to have an intimate connection with a group of people in your church.
3. Are you spending time with some of your church family outside of Sunday worship service? This could a be over coffee, lunch or even a family cook out. If you’re not investing in building friendships you’ll have none. Nor can we wait to be invited. About 8 years ago my wife and I moved to a new church and we knew no one. For three weeks no one talked to us. It was brutal. But, after the third week I finally walked up to another couple and introduced ourselves and said, “Would you guys like to go have lunch?” Our relationships exploded after that. Stop waiting for the invite, be the inviter!
4. Are you attending church more than twice a month? This is another issue that keeps people from feeling part of their church. If you’re gone half or more of the month of course you’re going to feel disconnected. The more often you’re in worship with your church family the more you’re going to feel connected to the vision and mission of the church. This will also give you more opportunities to grow in relationship.
Most people that feel disconnected think that going somewhere else will solve the problem. It doesn’t. They end up feeling the same way in the next church because they’re behavior is the same. If your church is anything like mine it provides a ton of avenues to get connected. It just means you have to make the investment to get the relational pay off you’re looking for. I promise you if you do each of these four keys you will feel connected in your church family. Now, go be the friend you’re looking for.