How to Avoid Isolation in the Church – Part 5

This is the fifth 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, GoPart 2, JoinPart 3, Serve, and Part 4, Observe & Invite.

Well, it’s Friday!  To all of you poor non-educators, I hope you made it to the end of the work week with all of your sanity intact. Also, why are you not an educator?  Summer vacation rocks!

Anyway, that’s not why you’re here.  You’re here to find out the fifth and final step to avoiding isolation in church.  We’ve talked about going, joining, serving, and *gulp* inviting yourself into people’s lives.

So what’s the final piece of the puzzle?

If you’re still reading this series, chances are you’ve experienced the loneliness of sitting alone in church before.  You’ve done the walking in alone thing, the looking around for someone you know while trying to not appear lost thing, the putting your purse on the seat next to you in order to appear like you’re waiting for someone thing…am I right?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve also sat there desperately hoping that some kind soul would come sit next you and strike up a conversation.  That they would ask you about your job and how your week was and that, miracle of miracles, they would actually remember your name when you saw them the next week.

Well guess what?  You need to be that kind soul.

This can be just as awkward as inviting yourself along to something, or possibly even more so, depending on your point of view.  Putting yourself out there and starting a conversation with a stranger is opening yourself up to the possibility of rejection, which is scary.  But it also gives you the opportunity to build new relationships, which is what you want, right?

Let’s be honest, we all want to be picked.  We want to be chosen.  We want someone to swoop in and make us feel like we’re special and wanted.  Well, Jesus did that.  He chose us.  He picked us.  We are special to him and He wants us.  I think when we actually start to understand that, building community with other human beings is a lot easier (and please know, I am totally preaching to myself here).

No one wants to feel isolated in church, but what we often forget is that we are the church.  When I was a kid I had a poster on my wall that said something to the effect of “if you want a friend, you have to be a friend.”  The same sentiment applies to the church.  If we want the church to be a welcoming place where we feel at home, we have to reach out, welcome people, and make them feel at home.

So next time you find yourself attending church alone, don’t just hope that someone will come sit with you.  Look around and find someone else who looks like they might be alone, and go sit with them.  Or if you are with a group, invite them to sit with your group.  Invite them to pray with you.  To take communion with you.  To go to lunch with you.  And even if they say no, remember them.  Say hello to them the next week.  Keep inviting them.  After all, isn’t that what you would want someone else to do for you?

In thinking and praying through this topic this week, I’ve become convinced that the biggest thing causing isolation in the church is not the insensitivity of the church as an institution, but rather our (read: MY) selfish desire to be the center of attention.  When we make church about serving and loving the body of Christ, instead of about what we want and we need, that’s when it becomes the kind of true, authentic community we are yearning for.

So go consistently.  Join a small group.  Serve faithfully.  Observe women you want to be like and invite yourself into their life.  And then turn around and invite someone into yours.

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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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