Connection. We all want it in some capacity. We all desire it to some degree. We want to be connected to someone, so that we are not alone.
Some of us prefer many connections of varying levels, while others prefer to have a few close connections.
One of the most important aspects of being involved in a church is connecting with others. If we are not connected with others, it is very easy to just attend on a Sunday Morning and slip out unnoticed, never getting involved beyond being a pew-sitter.
Connections help us feel welcomed in a church, makes us aware of other ministries and events happening that we can participate in and get involved with, and provides us the opportunity to create fellowship with other believers. Once these kinds of connections are made, the church becomes a community and family more than a building with people in it that we see once a week. Then we can begin to “do life” with other believers whom we have developed connections and fellowship with.
This process is key in the life of a Follower of Christ. God wants us to be in community with fellow believers, he doesn’t want us to try to struggle through this life on our own. We need help, encouragement, and sometimes to be challenged to live as we should. We need each other in this life…we need to be connected and have fellowship.
Churches that understand the importance of this will have many ways set up for those who attend to be able to create connections and fellowship. Small Groups, Sunday School classes, Bible Studies, and Ministries that are focused on a specific age group or life stage that have different meetings and gatherings.
However, no matter how much a church does or has set up, there are a couple of barriers that can and will get in the way. If we allow these barriers to be true of us, then we will have a hard time connecting.
#1 – Busyness
We live in a world that is extremely busy…extremely. There are always more things happening than we have time to be involved in. If we wanted to, we could easily fill our schedules running from one thing to another, with the only breaks being in the car driving from place or place and sleeping at night.
Being too busy is the biggest barrier of connecting with fellow believes. Consider this quote from Brock Morgan’s book “Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World” concerning being busy… “The church and the family in this post-Christian world have been replaced with school and community activities seven days a week – with no breaks… A student might play on three sports teams during the school year, take college-bound honors classes, and all the while working 20 hours a week… They are truly busy and can’t imagine being anything else. And all the while their parents applaud this hectic pace of life.” I believe that quote is true not only of students, but of parents and kids alike.
If we allow ourselves to be too busy with work, our kids activities, community functions, and our own personal activities, then we won’t have time to get involved in a Small Group or other gathering of some kind that our church does. It is not that we don’t desire to connect, it’s just that we’ve scheduled our life to be so busy that we literally can’t.
#2 – Waiting
I can’t even begin to share how often I see and hear this happening. People stand off to the side, arms crossed and a frown on their face, just waiting for someone to approach them. They do that for a while, and then get upset when they are not approached by someone. Or they sneak into a church service right as it begins, run out like it’s a jail break as soon as the service is over, and then wonder why they have not been able to connect. Or, they don’t attend any other church functions or gatherings where connection and fellowship can happen, but complain about not being connected.
Granted, I know this can be hard when you are new or have a shy personality. But we do have to try to at least look approachable, if not begin talking to other people. We do have to show up to church a few minutes before it begins or stay around for a few minutes after if people are going to even have the chance to say “hi”. And we have to be willing to try to attend a gathering or function outside of the morning service.
Yes, I agree that those who are already in the church should have their radar up to notice and approach people who aren’t yet connected in some way (if people who are part of church are not doing this, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed). But we can’t just sit and wait for that to happen, we have to make the effort to begin connecting on our own.
These two barriers can and will keep us from being able to connect and find fellowship with other believers. Connections are so important and vital to our own spiritual growth and strength…that is how God intended it to be. We should not try to be a lone ranger, we need each other…we need to be connected and have solid Christian community.