It seems that this time of year is when I start hearing people (from within and outside our church) start talking about not feeling like they are still part of their church family which often leads to changing churches or pulling back.
It usually starts with phrases like “It just doesn’t feel the same any more”, “No one really hangs out with me or talks to me anymore.”, or similar statements.
If you are in this boat, let me throw this observation out to you as there seems to be a trend when talking to folks struggling with these thoughts.
The reason I hear it more during this time of year is because it’s late spring/ early summer. There seems to be a snowball effect most of the time I am in these conversations sparked by this.
– We are all coming out of winter into a normal season that puts us in the mood for change.
– We walk into that season by getting more busy with moves, activities, family events, travel, cook outs and the like and for some…. we skip church to do these events. This takes us from a season of being plugged into the church community around us to being more pulled back.
– Often times, this starts a feeling of disconnect and we find ourselves struggling to plug into church community even when there is nothing on the schedule.
– Then we feel like we don’t fit in anymore and start feeling more like an orphan than a family member.
In many cases, this is a subtle plan of the enemy to separate you from the community God called you to. If he can get you to pull back some, the snow ball effect happens naturally.
Let me suggest going against the grain. If you once felt like your church community was a place of love, friendship, and refreshed you and you could contribute…. plug back in! There can be other reasons but for the most part, it should be you making the first step back in to get the community you love back.
I have a friend who almost left our church about three years ago. It was a time of change in our church as well as in her life. After we talked and she prayed about it, she plugged back in. She not only stayed coming to church, she started calling people and inviting them to do things. In a very short time, her relationships were stronger than ever and it had real life changes for her family as well.
Consider this before leaving your church. If God leads you someplace new, that’s awesome! However, if it’s your own discontent, you might have the control to plug back in.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrew 10: 24-25