The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
I go to a pretty big church, and i always feel overwhelmed and quite lonely. Even though I know heaps of people in the church and am pretty good friends with a few of them, I always end up feeling isolated. I try to mix with everyone as much as possible but I’m incredibly shy so its sometimes hard to start up the conversation. Do you have any tips on how I become more connected?
This is a great thing to be proactive about. Community is important and feeling isolated will do nothing good for your walk with the Lord. There are plenty of good things about going to a bigger church, but there are some issues as well. One of weaknesses is that there are just so many people around that it is easy to lose people in the shuffle. If there is a nice, quiet person like yourself who seems to be doing fine, then people will probably just assume you are fine. You’ve heard the expression “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, well it is time to start squeaking.
I don’t mean you should start being whiny, but you should mention your needs. Ask a small group leader or youth pastor or whatever to sit down and grab a cup of coffee and explain your feelings. Again, you don’t need to be dramatic and you shouldn’t feel like you are bothering them. Just talk about how you are feeling a little disconnected, that you are shy and it is tough for you but you want to put in the effort to grow in this area.
Along those lines, it seems like what you might be looking for is a more one on one discipling time. That is a great thing, and you will get a ton out of it. That is another area on which large churches tend to not focus. You might talk to an older person whose walk you admire and put it out there that you would love to have lunch once a week and talk about some stuff. The worst they can say is no, and once you put it out there you are much more likely to find what you are looking for.
One last tip: look for a place to serve. I’m willing to bet that there is someone or group in your church could use some help. Whether that is volunteering to help with childcare, or set up chairs somewhere, or handing out bulletins, whatever. Serving people has a way of really making you feel connected and, if you have a hard time striking up conversations, it gives you some common ground to start from. It’s a lot easier to start from “wasn’t it hilarious when little Johnny was running around with his diaper on his head?” than to start cold.
-Matt from The Bridge