I rarely go to church these days. It all started about three years ago when several things happened within a short period of time. Between dealing with some real life situations that made me begin to question a lot of what the Evangelical Christian Church typically taught and moving to a new community, I stopped going to church.
It didn’t happen all at once. At first I slowed down on the things I participated in. I had taught Bible Studies for years and I stopped teaching mainly because of the questions and doubts I was dealing with. I also scaled back on a lot of participation in other areas. If the program wasn’t missional in nature or for the purpose of creating community I eliminated it from my roster (there were a few exceptions, but not many). Then we moved to a new community and although we visited churches for almost two years (several for 2 or 3 months) I never got connected. So, for the last year I have attended church very rarely.
This is unusual for me because I was one of those people that went to church “every time the doors were opened” and volunteered/served a LOT. It seemed that when I started to scale back on some of the things I volunteered for I discovered that many (to be honest, it was probably most) of my relationships at church fizzled out – which led me to think that the relationships were sort of superficial and based more on activities than actual relating. That was sad.
I miss the way things used to be and yet the way things used to be doesn’t work for me anymore.
The closest anything came to working for me in the last couple of years was a small group (about 10 ppl) that met every other week. We did some service projects together, some fun things, read books and discussed them, studied scripture and prayed together, and talked with one another about our lives, faith, families, hobbies, relationships – really everything and anything. But after a couple of years the group stopped meeting because two or three of the couples broke off from the group for various reasons. This group had grown out of a Sunday morning Bible class from the church we had attended for years. We continued to drive the 50 mile roundtrip every other week to meet with the group just because it was such a good fit for my husband and I, but living as far away as we did we didn’t want to start trying out other small groups at that church. We haven’t found anything similar in the community where we now live.
There are still a few churches that I am interested in visiting but it seems that the ones that I am drawn to don’t have any teens at all and I would like my teenage son to have some peers to connect with.
It’s an odd time. I mourn for what I have lost even though what I lost is still there. I’ve changed and that means I don’t fit in anymore. It’s sad.
At the same time I enjoy sleeping in a little on Sundays (which I hadn’t done since I was in my twenties) and having both Saturday and Sunday to run errands, clean house, do the laundry – it seems to make the whole weekend more leisurely. I like the extra time that our family has together during the week when we used to be all going in a lot of different directions due to all the church activities we were involved with. But…I feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing.
Can anyone else relate?