The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
I have no Christian entourage besides my mom (I’m a one man wolf pack!) and it can get hard sometimes to pursue God alone. I attend church, but don’t know anyone there, which doesn’t seem right to me, because Christians are supposed to be the church and not just go to church, right? I’d like to get to know people who love God too, but the shy side of me makes me linger reluctantly and continue to walk alone in my faith. How do I develop Christian relationships as a recent believer?
You are absolutely right that Christians are supposed to be connected as the body of Christ and not just people who fill the same building once a week. You also seem to be aware that going it alone is not the way Christians were meant to be, and that is right on as well.
First let’s look at the church end of things here. A church is not functioning as it should if people in the pews feel isolated and uncared for. Now, caring for everyone in a church is a tough job, and it is very difficult to get it right. Different circumstances work for different people. Some folks like larger churches with tons of scheduled activities and groups, some prefer a smaller church that don’t offer that but where you know everyone there. It is important to find something that works for you and a place where you click with the people in the congregation and the leadership.
The other factor in here is you.. I can relate to how you feel. I am for the most part a shy person, and was way more so when I was younger and started walking with the Lord. I totally get how someone wants to just hang out in the back of the room and not talk to anyone after the service. But once that shyness becomes something that is keeping you from growing in the Lord, then it becomes sinful and something you need to get rid of.
Like I said, it is tough for the people in charge of a church to meet everyone’s needs for community. There are dozens if not hundreds of people to deal with, and if you aren’t putting any effort into getting plugged in then it may not occur to anyone that that is something you want. You need to start going to things like sunday school classes, bible studies, and community groups and go to some folks instead of waiting for them to realize what you need and addressing it on their own. That may seem a little scary, but you can do it and after the first time then you will at least have been introduced to people.
You could also volunteer to help out with something, for example a children’s ministry or a soup kitchen. That makes things a little less awkward since there is an activity going on. Most churches need are always looking for people to volunteer their time and it is a great way to meet people and have the bond of serving together.
Community is a critical aspect of Christianity. It is so critical that we have to take an active role in finding and maintaining it. This Christian life was not meant to be walked alone, and you don’t have to. That is not what God wants for you, and it is not what the people in the church want for you. But sometimes you have to take that first step.
-Matt from The Bridge