A community is so important to have especially when raising kids. It’s one thing to connect with people online or to connect with relatives. But to do life together with people that commit themselves to be there for you when they don’t have to, is so important for our self-esteem and self worth.
One aspect of community for my family has always been the church. We love our church community. We love having friends that want to meet up every week. They want to watch our kids. They want to sit and chat over coffee or have playdates.
We have an amazing group of friends that make us want to be better people. They inspire us and encourage us. They hold us accountable to the word of God. The funny thing about our church is that it is considered a mega-church. It’s made up of thousands of members!
Looking back at my life, I’ve actually always been a part of big churches when growing up. I had a few years when as a pre-teen I was a part of a smaller church. But for most of my life I have been a part of a church made up of over thousands of people.
I am very much at home in my mega church. And yet, I actually have a number of friends that haven’t felt at home at this very church. I’ve paid attention to the differences in our behaviors that make our experience with this mega church different and I’ve come up with some pointers to make a mega-church feel not so big and scary but more at home.
- Let others know you’re new!
The moment you’ve entered a brand new church that’s massive, it’s very easy to go unnoticed. It’s up to you to let others know this is your first time. And they truly do want to know. For many volunteers greeting you at the doors or at the children’s area, it’s their job to get to know you.
- No akward seats!
There’s a girl I am very close to now after only having met her twice at church. It is literally because I had the option of sitting one seat away from her and chose to sit directly next to her. It’s not like we talked or made eye contact with each other right away too. It was at the end of the service that as we were slowly leaving our seats our eyes met and I commented on her beautiful hair. Instant friendship! Even sitting at the back away from everyone or sitting with the same group every Sunday can stop you from building relationships. Sit next to someone you don’t know.
- Stay atleast 15mins after the service!
I’ve seen it so many times. It honestly drains me hearing the same old tune from members of a mega-church that feel alone. They rush in and rush out. The key word is LINGER! It’s why most churches have coffee and snacks available after the service.
When picking up your kids from Sunday school, stay a few minutes to get to know who their Sunday school teacher is. This is actually how I get babysitters and this is how you build community.
- Join a community group!
A community group or small group is something most mega-churches have and it’s actually a critical part of being a member of the church. It’s basically members of the church meeting up one night a week in groups of around 5 to 10 people.
This is the group you become family with. You discuss the sermon and be honest about what was exciting or hard to swallow. You discuss your struggles and get support, prayers and advice.
In our community group, all of our kids get together in the playroom while we parents sit and chat. They have so much fun together and many of these kids end up going to school together and looking out for one another.
- In that moment that you feel like giving up on the church and still lack friends, TELL SOMEONE!
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Let someone know that you can use a friend. Let someone know you’d love to hang out. Nag them if you have to!
What’s the big deal if you make yourself look like a fool while seeking out a community/friendship?
We humans take so much pride in being chased by others for a friendship. Why?! It’s like we’re back in high school trying to act cool and like we don’t care about friendship, mean while we’re screaming for attention on the inside.
The goal in having a community is to be wanted and missed! There have been times I haven’t showed up to church or community group and I will for sure get a text or phone call from two or more friends asking if I’m ok. Often times those are moments the kids are sick or an emergency has come up that I can use a friend to help me.
That’s the goal! When you don’t show up, there’s gotta be someone seeking you out.
- 6. Get involved! This one is the most obvious and yet most people that complain they’re lonely in a mega church are often not involved in volunteering. Especially in a mega church, you can guarantee there will be numerous volunteer positions available. These positions are broken into groups and these groups have team meetings and some even have volunteer parties or simply hang out regularly. Volunteering is a sure fire way to make certain you show up to church and hang out with people. I mean everyone is counting on you showing up.
You don’t have to be out spoken or an extrovert to survive a mega-church. Just be yourself and do your part to build relationships.