How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 1

This is the first post in a week-long series intended to help anyone, but specifically single women, avoid being isolated in church.  The introduction to this series can be found here.

Finding your place in a church can be difficult, especially if you have recently moved or are transitioning out of a youth group or college ministry.  This can also get increasingly difficult the larger the church you are attending is.  And whereas married people at least have someone to sit with on Sunday morning, many of us single ladies find ourselves sitting alone week in and week out.

So what’s the first step?

We know that God has created us to be in community.  In Genesis, the Lord says that “it is not good for man to be alone,” and He’s not just talking about marriage.  We need other people.  We need support and encouragement.  We need to be challenged and called out on our junk.  We need people to mourn with us, to rejoice with us, to show us the beauty of Christ’s love in tangible ways.

During my last few years of college, I was blessed to be a part of an absolutely amazing community.  I didn’t intentionally become a part of this group; rather others intentionally brought me into it.  It wasn’t always easy, but I had a group of people I knew I could call on to pray with me and to be goofy with me, to help me move and to just sit around and talk with.  It was an amazing experience and when I moved to Memphis I was devastated to lose it.  I knew I needed it, but had very few ideas about how to recreate that kind of community in a new context and whether that was even possible.

I think the first step to building a new community is two-fold: recognize that you need it, and then GO.

During any transition or move, some church “shopping” is to be expected, but at some point you need to pick a place and then attend consistently.

And by consistently, I mean every single week.  Do you hear me?  Every. Single. Week.  Whether you feel like it or not.  Even if you have to sit alone.  Even if it’s awkward and uncomfortable.  Even if you’re tired or swamped with work or would rather just listen to a podcast in the comfort of your bed.  There were so many times my first year of teaching in Memphis that I just did not want to go.  I was exhausted and overworked and floundering and sick of sitting alone, and yet I never regretted entering that building on Sunday morning.  God would often meet me there and give me a song that was just for me or a message that was just for me, and it would invariably give me the strength to make it through the week.

If you want to become a part of a community and build fellowship with other believers, you have to be present on a regular basis.  You need to be predictable.  Sit in the same general area every week.  When you get the opportunity, greet the people around you and do your best to remember their names (I am horrible at that).  Make it a habit, not an occasional occurrence.

And there you have it.  Easy, right?  Step one to avoiding isolation: acknowledge that you need community, and start showing up.  See you tomorrow for step two!

Image source: http://www.hfcchurch.org/ministries

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4 Comments

  1. How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 2 « Why I…
  2. How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 2 « Why I…
  3. How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 4 « Why I…
  4. How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 5 « Why I…

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