Walking into Church Alone

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!

 

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10 thoughts on “Walking into Church Alone”

  1. Some of the hardest times in my walk as a Christian was going into new churches on my own. Father god would not ignore anybody who entered his building by themselves. I always welcome new people. Bless You

  2. Thank you for commenting. I feel such a burden for this group of people especially with most of the talk in churches being about marriages and family (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Bless you as well!

  3. Churches are so thrilled with married people who bring along their families that they often fail to recognize the existence of everyone else as having anything valuable to contribute. Some of that is due to the rules – 1 Timothy 3 says that leaders must all be married men; so there’s no representation or recognition of the needs of singles, divorced individuals, widows or widowers on the leadership. When I see churches that are so focused on marriage and family that they marginalize everyone else, it’s reason enough for me to leave that church and stay away from that denomination. It’s 2016 (almost) we shouldn’t be idolizing a 1950s ethic of marriage and family when single people nearly outnumber married couples. If we don’t change the rules, there won’t be much of a church left to go to; at least, not one where single people will feel welcome when marriage and family are more important than Jesus’ teachings (and he was single!)

    1. Absolutely! I agree with you. In interest of full disclosure and in case you haven’t looked anywhere else in my blog, I am married, but because my husband serves behind the media desk, I sit alone often. When I meet someone new, I feel like I always have to say where my husband is. I don’t think that’s right. Everyone who walks into a church needs to be valued for who they are as a person, not whether they are married or not. Thanks for commenting!

      1. I don’t think it’s right either. I remember in one of my churches that a woman stood up and tearfully spoke about the problem she was having getting her husband to come to church she eventually left that church because of the lack of support. In another church, the loss of a deacon was immediately compounded by his wife being asked to ‘step down’ as a deaconess because she no longer biblically qualified for the position. At least being married in the church and having your husband being with you at church gives you power (status and/or respect) that you don’t even realize you have. The question is – what will you do with it?

  4. Yes, and I don’t think things will change until you have people in charge who want to change the status quo. I think, as well, that this is the reason a lot of younger people are leaving their churches and their faith. I feel fortunate that my college-aged son has found a fantastic church where he is going to college and has already had chances to minister. I know that is rare though.

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