I started talking about this in my last post, but thought I would expand on it today. It is a scary thing to walk into a church alone. In a lot of churches, it seems like people have more respect and are more welcoming to a new couple or a new family than to someone who is alone. When I was in my teens and twenties, I walked into a lot of churches alone. I will never forget that “gulp down in the bottom of my throat” fear stepping through those doors and wondering if people would judge me on superficial factors and not get to know the person I was inside. My experiences have been positive, more than not, though I could tell you about some negative experiences that made me wonder whether theses churches truly wanted people to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Yesterday, I named some categories of people who might walk into a church alone. They included people who have never been married, whether old or young, people who have been divorced, and people who have been widowed. I want to add one other category to that list. It would be a person who is married, but whose spouse is not interested in coming to church for whatever reason. I think that one would be the hardest one of all because what do you tell the people you meet. You’re different from them, but you’re not different either so it’s hard to know where to fit in.
So, what does the church do about that, if anything? I think the first step is to recognize when people walk into our churches alone and make sure they are introduced to people who will sit with them during the service. That would go a long way towards increasing people’s comfort level with being in a new place. And then, then, if they are interested in knowing more about the church, give them opportunities to find out what the church is all about–opportunities to learn, opportunities to serve, opportunities to become a part of the church family despite the fact they are alone. People who walk into our churches alone are just as capable of serving God as those who are married or those who have families. It’s about time our churches realized that.
God’s blessings on you today!