How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 3

This is the third 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 and Part 2, Join.

So now you’re going to one church consistently. You’re sitting in the same place each week and having conversations with the people around you. You’ve joined a group and are beginning to build relationships with those people. Hopefully, those are also some of the people you’re sitting with on Sunday morning. Hopefully this is going pretty well for you.

So why isn’t a small group enough?

A lot of people think that just joining a small group is going to solve the problem. That once they have their core people around them, they will feel at home and live happily ever after. And for some people, that may work. But what happens when the people in your small group move? Change churches? Stop showing up? If your small group is your only connection to your local body, it will be hard to continue feeling at home when the group inevitably changes.

My current small group leaders have been my leaders for the past three years. Before them, however, my small group leader changed every year, starting in the youth group in 7th grade and all the way through college. As meaningful as those groups were in their seasons, they did not keep me connected to the larger church body. In order to do that, you need to SERVE.

This is a lesson I actually learned from my dad (one of many, of course). When my family moved to Texas in 1992, my parents spent a couple of months looking for a church. After many different Sunday School programs that caused my sister and I to throw tantrums, they finally found the church they would attend until after I graduated from college (I hope I’m exaggerating about the tantrums, but I don’t think I am…I’m pretty sure we refused to go anywhere else after finding one we liked). Within a few weeks of starting to attend, the church was having a men’s retreat.

Now most people who are new to a church would probably hesitate before going on a retreat with a bunch of men they don’t know. Well, my dad is not most people. He signed up for the retreat AND signed up to volunteer. He offered to work the registration desk so that he could meet everyone who signed up and start learning their names. He also made sure that he was always on a first-name basis with the senior paster and either the children’s minister or youth pastor, depending on our ages.

When I moved to Memphis, I remembered that story. It took me a little longer because I’m not nearly as brave as my dad, but once I started serving on the Greeter team once a month, I began to feel a lot more at home at my church. People recognize me now and I recognize them, even if we don’t know each others names. I know the guy in charge of the greeters, a lot of the other greeters, and I’ve even made a point to be on a first-name basis with my outpost’s pastor. (My church has two, soon to be three, “outposts.” The senior pastor wouldn’t know me if he fell on me, but the pastor I see week in and week out knows me by name.) And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like walking in each week and hearing him say, “Hey, Rachel. How’s it going?”

Maybe you’re not cut out to be a greeter, but you do have the ability to serve somewhere. Find a place and be faithful in your service. Get to know the person in charge of you and the other people on your team. We all feel more connected to the places and people we’ve invested time in, so find a way to do just that.

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

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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