How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 2

This is the second 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.  Click here to read Part 1, Go.

Yesterday we talked about the first step to avoiding isolation and becoming a part of the local church body: going.  You have to show up consistently.  Sit in the same place. Talk to people.  Be very obviously present.

“But I’m already doing this!” you say.

So what’s the next step?

Unfortunately, just showing up is not enough.  Merely attending on Sunday morning and saying brief hellos to the people around you will not create true community, just like merely sitting in a desk every day will not earn you a degree (or at least it shouldn’t).  Sitting in a chair or a pew is passive; becoming part of a community must be active.

That is why it is absolutely imperative that you JOIN.  Join a small group.  Join a Sunday school class.  Join the church itself.  Even if you’re not sure how long you are going to be in one place, join anyway.  Jump out of your self-sufficient fish bowl and into a bowl with other fish. (I don’t know why, but I love that picture.  I think it’s adorable.)

I would highly recommend joining a small group.  I’ve never been in a church that does adult Sunday school classes (as an adult, anyway), but it’s my impression that they are usually organized around life stages, and we’ve already talked about how that can be difficult.  Small groups are more often organized around location, which can lead to a lot more diversity in the group.  Diversity = good for building true, enriching, challenging community.

The people in my small group are some of the best people I know.  It has been such a blessing to see the other people in the group grow and change over the years.  I have seen couples go from engaged to married, from married to parents of two girls, and from newlyweds to adoptive parents.  And they have seen me go from floundering first-year teacher struggling to make it through the week to semi-competent third year teacher (still struggling to make it through the week sometimes).  They’ve helped me move, prayed me through difficult times, and rejoiced with me in good times.

The thing I’ve learned about small groups is that you get out of them what you put into them.  Again, consistency is key.  For there to be true community, there has to be vulnerability.  For there to be vulnerability, there has to be trust.  For there to be trust, there has to be consistency.  Be the group member who never misses, who is there on time, who brings the snack.  If you want your small group to be a place where people are honest about what’s going on in their lives rather than a social club that gathers once a week, be willing to risk it all and be the first one to share.

If you’re just attending on Sunday mornings, it is easy to slip through the cracks, especially in a large church.  The great thing is that a group of 10 people in someone’s living room is just as much of a church as an arena full of people.  JOIN a small group, and help it become the kind of community you want it to be.

Image source: http://www.webprofessionals.org

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

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