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I feel alone in the church....



When you go to church, do you ever feel alone among the many happy, friendly faces? I do. I don't have anything against the people I go to church with, but I'm not in their "group". No one at church really knows me, and some of them don't even remember my name. I have Christian friends, but they all go to different churches, so when I walk into my church doors, there's no one to confide in or confess to. It's kind of just me and God, and it's not bad, but I don't find much community in my church.


You too?

I think that for me, the pandemic really hindered any community that I had before. Not only that, it made me more aware of the community I crave and I couldn't find that at church. Now that things are back to "normal", everyone's changed and I feel disconnected.


You too?


If you are a Christian and you feel alone in the church, let me tell you: you are not alone in feeling alone! So many other Christians feel this way. I guarantee that there are people in your own church that feel alone too, and you never would have known it.


As I've been working through how God wants me to find/build this community, I'm reminded of what He wants the church to be - a place of vulnerability, a place where we share everything, a place of joy, a place of friendship. He desires for us to have a community around us who support us in our faith, challenge our sins and encourage us during the hard times. Hebrews 10:25 says:


"not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


And in Acts, the author writes about the incredible community that the early disciples had together:


"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold their property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." - Acts 2:42-47


No matter how many times I read those verses, I always think "that is exactly what I want". Maybe you too? They had such beautiful relationships with each other, an intimacy that most of us have never known or seen. They walked through life together in the most beautiful way; they taught together, served together, prayed together. They gave to the poor together and praised God together. They were in each other's homes and in each other's lives. To our culture today, this just sounds like no privacy, but to them, it was a way of life. It was unity and walking through life together, even when it was messy or ugly or hard. They were together, inseparable, united by the common belief in Christ.


All of us crave this kind of intimate community. Even the most introverted of us want to be known and supported. How do I know this? Because it's how God created us. Even when the world was perfect and sinless, God created a partner for Adam because He knew it would be better for us to not be alone. God even commanded Adam and Eve to reproduce to create a world full of people who would never be alone, but instead seek God together and live in close knit villages. We are meant to live in community.


So what? You've tried the church, and you don't seem to find that community there.


Please, please, please do not give up on the church. The church is an imperfect family, but it's a family God established nonetheless.


A lot of us are waiting for someone to reach out and initiate the relationship. (I was.) But unfortunately, if everyone is waiting for someone to initiate, no one is going to actually take the first step! It's up to us. Ask someone to grab a Starbucks drink and walk around Target with you. Invite some girls your age over for a mini Bible study. Hand out your number to girls younger than you and open up your schedule to mentor them. Find a mentor for yourself! Join a Bible study or small group at your church. Attend youth group regularly and learn everyone's name. Invite someone from your church to sit with you at lunch at school. Strike a conversation with a girl in your class you don't know very well. Be brutally honest when someone asks you how you're doing.


Find people you see on a regular basis and invite them into your life. For us students, maybe it's the girl we sit next to in English, or the person we were partnered with on a group project that happens to be a Christian. Whatever it is, get out of your comfort zone and start to see what God has in store. Your community probably won't magically appear overnight, but God will slowly reveal to you the people He has waiting for you.


I know what it's like to be in this place of feeling alone in the church. It's hard! I've been asking God for guidance and wisdom, but in the meantime, I recently invited my two best friends over for a Bible study, and that was so good for my soul. We laughed together, we shared struggles we were facing, and we mutually encouraged each other with Scripture. Your community doesn't have to be big or full of people; maybe your community is made up of 2-3 of your closest Christian friends and those are the people God has given you in this season of life. That's great! Invest in those 2-3 people and watch how God uses your little group. Remember, where 2-3 gather, there Christ gathers as well (Matthew 18:20)!


That community in Acts we talked about earlier? That's possible. It takes effort, initiative, and prayer, but God has that same community planned for us if we just open our hearts to obey Him and receive it.

 

It's normal to go through times when you feel alone in the church. It's normal to go through times when you feel alone, period! But don't stay there. I believe that God has a special community waiting for each and every one of us. There are Christians, both in the church and outside the church) that God wants to use to speak to us and to encourage us. Sometimes, we just have to cling to Jesus and take the first step.


If you are feeling alone in the church, remember that you are not alone! Let me know in the comments down below so that I can pray for you specifically. Or, if you have any advice/wisdom for someone feeling alone in the church, drop that in the comments as well so that we can uplift each other!

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