If you’ve ever been to a large church, then you know the drill. It’s easy to go in and leave without being noticed (for the most part). For some, that’s the reason they attend large churches–they can be completely anonymous and without accountability to anyone. But for many, they would like to get plugged in, but they don’t just know where to begin.
This is something I worried about for myself, actually, as I started pastoring at Pioneer Memorial Church–would it ever get to a point where I actually became familiar with people?The church is not on the massive scale of things, but we do average about 2,700 between two services, so it would normally make familiarity with people relatively difficult. Here’s some lessons I’ve learned in the last few months about feeling connected.
1. Attend other church events. If all you do is just attend the main worship experience, you’ll probably never really feel connected. As I’ve started to attend different church events, though, it’s given me an opportunity to meet people in smaller venues. I’ve been able to learn people’s names and connect with people who I normally would never have met before.
2. Join a small group. This is the easy one of course, but requires a little more intimacy and commitment from your part. In a smaller church you can get away with feeling connected without being part of a small group, but not in a large church. If you do this, you’ll immediately begin to meet people and get connected to their extended networks as well.
3. Join a ministry team. When you join a ministry team you’ll begin working side by side with several people. This assumes that there is a process by which people can be involved in ministry in your church, but that’s another discussion. So if you’re normally pretty shy, I think that joining a ministry team is actually easier than a small group. It requires less emotional energy.
It’s taken a few months, but I’m actually getting to the place where I know quite a few people’s names and have had some decent conversations with several of them. Of course it does help that I’m one of the pastors on staff, but I think these principles still hold. If all I did was attend the weekend worship service, I would barely know anybody. So you do have to be intentional about wanting to connect and attend other events and volunteering. If you don’t, you probably shouldn’t blame the church because you don’t feel connected.
[image by the waving cat]