I went to my church’s Life Group yesterday. We are going through Thom Rainer’s I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian.
In the book, Rainer says that church people who only attend the
worship service are more likely to drop out of church than those who
attend a small group or a Sunday school class. Someone in the group
explained her understanding of the rationale for that: we’re more likely
to attend a church if we have friends there. Someone else said that,
when she first attended our church, the pastor encouraged her to get
involved in all of the church’s activities. That way she can learn
people’s names, get to know people, and find a place in the church.
Before you know it, she had a role in the church, and she considered it
The previous pastor of the church told me a while back that small
groups were a new thing for this church. I asked the Life Group what
the church was like before there were small groups. Essentially, they
answered that the church still had lots of activities to attend. There
was Sunday school, Bible study, quilting groups, committees, etc., etc.
I will be moving again in a few months, and I will probably look for
another church that will be closer to where I will be. My experience in
the current Methodist church that I attend has made me think about what
exactly to look for in a church. What do I want? What should I want?
Of course, the point of Thom Rainer’s book is that we should not
think so much about what we want or what we can get from church. We
should be focused more on worshiping God and on serving. I guess I have
to decide for myself what to do with that line. I do not repudiate it
entirely. On the other hand, I have difficulty removing my wants and
desires—-in short, myself—-from the equation. After all, I carry
myself—-and my own thoughts, needs, feelings, and wants—-with me
wherever I go.
Something that strikes me about the Methodist church is that it is
very active. There are many churches that talk about doing good, and
these churches mean well. But the Methodist church is actually
proactive in doing good. It is always on the go. It is high energy. I
admire that. But I get exhausted thinking about it. I am the sort of
person who likes to be by myself and read all day. But I am glad that
somebody is out there trying to make the world a better place!
I also am the sort of person who wants to be loved, or at least
liked, without much effort on my part. Some places are more comfortable
for me in this regard than other places. For me, trying to be liked
takes a lot of work. Add to that the times in my life when I have
earnestly tried to be liked, and I have not been liked. That can easily
discourage a person from trying, or it can make a person socially
I guess that one thing that I can do is to keep an open mind. Be
open to participating in some activities—to try them out, at least.
Keep in mind that I am not the center of the universe. Hear other
people’s joys and concerns, and care about them.