Attending Church Alone

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by noregrets1987, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. noregrets1987

    noregrets1987
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    I have been attending this college night church called paradigm fx now for this past semester. The only problem is that after half of an entire year I still don't feel at home. I go to it every now and then with friends but most of the time I catch myself there alone. We have this social time before it starts each week and every week I find myself alone in a corner. Why is it so hard for other to come up to me? I know a lot of the people there and they know me. I say hi to a few of them but after that they leave and start talking with others and there I am floating around feeling completely uncomfortable by myself again. Almost every time that I go to church I get this same feeling, I'm not wanted there. I love god and I love to worship him but I keep feeling this feeling that no one cares that I am there. Honestly if I stopped showing up there would be very very few people that would notice and even less that really cared. Why is it that church seems this way to me? I try to make friends with the people that are there but they don't ever seem to really care. Some know my name while others don't. I sit alone in church whenever I go alone and every once in a while someone will sit by me but like tonight the person who sat by me didn't even really say a word to me but the other people sitting in front of me. I go to church alone and I leave alone and while I am there I am alone, I worship god so I know he is with me but other than that I have no relationships with the other people in church and I just feel like I am not meant to be there. I don't know... maybe if I stopped attending then I wouldn't be placed in such a situation that is so horrible that I will stop to feel this way. Instead of worshiping the lord at church I find myself crying in prayer just because I am alone.
     
  2. Virginia ORB

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    Noregrets1987,

    Not knowing you or the church you attend, I cannot answer why this feeling of loneliness is upon you. My suggestion would be that you find another church to attend, a small church would be best. A small church allows a more personal interaction among the crowd. I pray that the Lord will help you.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Yeah, this is a tough one, because we don't know much about you or the church you attend.

    My first general observation is that kids that age tend to be pretty cliquish. They probably don't have a clue that they're shutting you out. You're expecting them to act maturely, and believe me, most college students aren't mature.

    If you're not very outgoing, more the quiet type, they may think you're the one throwing up the wall.

    The quickest way to get to know something about someone is to ask them about themselves. Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Don't just say hi. Pick one out and strike up a conversation. Ask questions. Like, tell me about your conversion experience. What attracted you to this church? Are you a sports fan? What do you like about the worship service.

    Have you joined this church? If so, do you attend Sunday School or Bible study? Joined the choir?

    Not knowing you or them, I'm speaking in generalities. But I do detect that you're having your own personal pity party. Don't look for the group to accept you before they really know you. That problem gets solved on a one-on-one basis--making one friend at a time.
     
  4. David Lamb

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    I hope you will find a church which is both faithful to the bible, and more welcoming. I wonder if I could ask (and apologies in advance if this sounds a stupid question) what is a "college night church"? Is it a church that meets at night, and whose members are all college students? If so, it could be a membership with few if any older Christians in it. I must say that I am very gratful to God that when I was converted, the church I joined included a wide age-range, and families who kindly invited students (I was a student at the time) into their homes. At college, we had a Christian Union, but it was not a church. Christian students were encouraged to attend local churches. Is there a biblically-sound church anywhere near where you live/study?

    Edited to add:


    Since writing that, I discovered something called paradigm fx, at: http://www.paradigmfx.com/ That site though doesn't say that paradigm fx is a church. It says:
    Paradigm is a discipleship based nondenominational worship service that meets weekly on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. Jon Randles communicates through video and Justin Moore leads worship for this weekly encounter with God.

    If that is the sort of thing you mean, you really do need to join an actual church, not just attend a weeknight "worship service".
     
    #4 David Lamb, Dec 7, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2007
  5. convicted1

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    Re: alone at church

    Dear NoRegrets1987,

    Since you don't feel "at home" or "welcome" at this church, do you think that God may be calling you to another church? I agree with Virginia ORB on this one. I have met him before, and he is quite friendly, eventhough we had only talked via Baptistboard prior to meeting him.Just pray to God that He puts you where He wants you to be. May God bless you on your journey with Him!!

    Willis
     
  6. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Hey noregrets,

    It is hard to know what to tell you about your church with what you have shared with us. If you are feeling alone one of the best ways to meet people is through smaller groups. If your church has Sunday School this could be an option.

    Are you a student? There are many Christian college organizations at most schools. I know when I went to college we had a great Baptist Student Union on campus. As a freshman it helped me adjust to the college atmosphere. We had a program at the BSU then called ‘family groups.’ I don’t know if they still do that but back then incoming students would be assigned to small groups with a campus mom or dad to direct them. I am sure they are doing something similar today.
     
  7. Alex Quackenbush

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    The problem you are describing here is a SOCIAL ONE not a SPIRITUAL ONE. Your problem of feeling alone or experiencing social isolation is not unique and in fact is true of saved and unsaved, hence it is a SOCIAL problem.
     
    #7 Alex Quackenbush, Dec 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2007
  8. corndogggy

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    Unfortunately, this is just the way church is. I have attended church religiously for years upon years but didn't truly get saved until this February... but even then, I really didn't see any change at all. I was alone. It was a real turn-off. I have found myself reverting back to my old self and I think a big reason because of this is due to the same exact things you were talking about. It seems as if nobody cares. Nothing changed. I can skip church for a month then show up out of the clear blue, and even though it's a small church, nothing has changed at all, nobody says a word. To many, if not most, church is mostly just another social engagement, and they truly act the part. I'm having a hard time getting into it.

    I have played guitar for a year but I've had 11 years of music lessons so I caught on rather fast, so last week I thought I'd offer to play along with the other guys who were playing guitar at church, who weren't all that great, so I know I could at least hang with them. I talked to two guys in person, sent an email, and also left a message on an answering machine... no response. Not that it's any shocker at all or anything, or that this event stood out, it's just that this is pretty typical. It's VERY clique-y, however you spell that.

    It's the same exact scene that I experienced in grade school, high school, college, in my 20's, and now I'm in my 30's still seeing the same mess and quite frankly I'm sick of it. It's the story of my life and I am absolutely sick of it. One would think that Christians in a modern church would act a little different, but quite honestly, they don't. Sure, some churches are different, as I'm sure that 5 people will respond explaining this, but I sure haven't seen it, and apparently the original poster hasn't either.

    All I can say is, you're not alone, even though it seems like it.
     
  9. corndogggy

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    Sure, but, shouldn't your spiritual changes and improvements reflect social ones, hence reaching out to loners like this? Unfortunately it doesn't work this way, but I have to ask... shouldn't it? Seems to me like it ought to, but it usually doesn't. Seems to me like you can't change the spiritual without changing the social as well, but I don't see it happening.
     
  10. corndogggy

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    As a Christian, should this really matter? I mean, should you tuck tail and run at anybody who even remotely seems to be "throwing up the wall"??? That seems pretty weak to me. Seems to me like Christians should be persistant in reaching out to others, even if they are not as outgoing as them, but it doesn't happen.
     
  11. corndogggy

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    Personally, I think this is a people-problem, not a church-problem. It's just the way that most people are.
     
  12. Chessic

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    I've experienced these same issues, too: churches that aren't interested in using your talents, and don't even grace you with a response--that particular issue is a problem of leadership, imo.

    The important issue of being noticed or welcomed is both spiritual and social, but we have to remember everyone is living from their own point of view. Some of these people are feeling the same way you are, some are simply too wrapped up in their own concerns to notice others, some don't want to disturb you by forcing you into a conversation, however short, (this is how I feel, I don't want to engage someone else in a conversation they don't want because I wouldn't like that myself), and to some, conversing with someone they don't know well is torturous. Most, I think, are simply distracted.

    After decades of going through what you describe, I've gotten to the point where I almost don't want to be noticed. But surely a better attitude is one of sacrificial giving, looking to give of yourself to others as service to God, whether it looks like you will be getting anything in return or not. I believe God will bless those efforts and ultimately give you what you need. But getting something in return should not be the reason for self-sacrifice (love for the Lord should be).

    Lastly, it is often the case that our sufferings and trials are there to help us to truly understand what it is like for others in that same trial, so that we will know what they feel and have a heart that understands their particular kind of pain.

    I urge you to use this experience to reach out to others self-sacrificially, and use this experience to minister to those who feel alone and ignored, since you have experienced it yourself and know what it is like. I think you will find many, many others feel the same way you feel now. There are at least 3 of us now in this thread alone.
     
  13. A2J

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    Ah yes, the modern day church, or should I say "social club?"

    I've been in churches where if you ain't dressed right (and no, I'm not just refering to suit/tie), or are from the wrong neighborhood you are looked down upon. They just don't want anyone new at their lilttle country club.

    It's sad that so-called followers of Jesus would act this way, but unfortunately they do.

    As to the OP, I would suggest that to have a friend you first need to be a friend, but unfortunately that doesn't always work.

    a2j
     
  14. Deacon

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    IMO forget looking for another church.
    You probably will have the same experence.
    It's not the way this church is, it's the way people are.
    Your feelings are common.
    I've felt them myself at times.

    I'd suggest finding a ministry where you can serve the Lord.
    The people thing will sort itself out once you work with people who have similar interests.

    Rob
     
  15. Alex Quackenbush

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    No. Simply because someone has made some spiritual advancement is any guarantee of social advancement. Yes, SOMETIMES it can be a by-product but it isn't a guarantee nor should it be an expectation.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    A man that hath friends must show himself friendly (Prov 18:24 horribly translated but you get the point)

    When attending any meeting regularly, I "push myself" on to people, showing myself interested in them, their work, their family. Attended a large church in Dallas and always sat in the same area and got to know familiar faces who were always sitting there, too. Not long before invited to dinner, into small group, etc

    When someone says a church is not friendly, I always want to hold up a mirror.

    But I don't. :)
     
  17. noregrets1987

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    I may have portrayed myself incorrectly to a degree. I'm not much of an outsider / anti-social. I have a lot of friends and in a fraternity but that's mostly besides the point. Most of my friends are very unchristian so I went to church for two reason; first of all was to worship God and serve him above all else. I understand that but I also went to meet christian people cause the bible states

    He who walks with the wise grows wise; but a companion of fools suffers harm (proverbs 13:20)

    so I have been looking for a more christian group of people it also states

    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down his friend can help him up but pity the man who falls and as no one to help him up! (Ecclesiast 4:9-10)

    basically... but I keep getting is that church is nothing but a social club that isn't kind to many outsiders. I may not be the best person in God's eyes but I am saved. I just almost get to the point of not wanting to attend church cause every single time I am there it is very very rare to have a person actually attempt to become friends. And since I keep falling back to a wrong crowd that often brings me down over and over again.

    Am I really to accept that every church is this way and I should just learn to accept such a thing? It sounds like I am there mainly for there and not for the glory of God but that's not what I'm trying to get acrossed.. I guess I'm not fully sure what I'm trying to ask or try to get across...
     
  18. corndogggy

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    Isn't part of Christianity having to reach out and witness to others? What's the point of claiming that you have grown as a Christian when you can't even reach out to people who are already in your own church doors? If you can't do that, I think that's a pretty good indication of how your witnessing is going outside the church doors... probably not very good. So what's the point?
     
  19. corndogggy

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    I think we know EXACTLY what you're talking about. It's just that it's that much worse when you're somewhat anti-social. I am nobody to take advice from in this manner at all, but maybe a few tips from my experience:

    1. Maybe try to volunteer. The few friends I do have at church is due to volunteering and seeing the same small group over and over again. They don't really have a choice but to realize you're trying to help and fit in.

    2. Try some sports teams. Most churches have some softball or basketball leagues and it's easier to talk to people in that environment.

    3. There are other guys feeling the same pain... look for other quiet folks wandering around by themselves and you'll probably find a buddy pretty easily.

    4. Maybe just do something as simple as join the church. Most people are introduced in front of the entire church and you'll get lots of introductions afterwards.
     
  20. noregrets1987

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    I am more on the urge of just giving up on church all together and worshiping God in my own way. Church is starting to become so trivial.
     

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