Confession time. I haven't been to church since May. I haven't been to church since the baby dedication incident back in May. We've been to one small group meeting and one small group get-together and thats it. Some of the weeks one of the other of us did not feel well. Other weeks we slept in and still others we've found other things to do. I feel somewhat guilty about it. Being part of a community of believers is important to us, but we just haven't gone.
Both Michael and I have seen the "dark" side of churches. We've been hurt in the church. Personally I still feel hurt by some issues from a church I was on staff with. I know that was quite a while ago. While working at a church, church become "work". It was hard to separate "work" from being a member of a congregation of believers. So my spiritual life suffered. Since I was involved in Children's Ministry I was unable to attend services at that church. While I did sometimes attend service at another church, I never made much of a connection there because I didn't have the time to really get involved.There have been highs and lows since then.
It's important to be to be connected to a church. I don't just want to go to a service on Sunday and be done with it for the week. No, I want to connect, all or nothing. Yet, I am somewhat afraid of connecting. Does that make any sense? The wonderful people at Grace Church have welcomed us and have opened their homes to us, but I still find that my desire to run away and not get to close is still there. I'm afraid to let people in, to see the "real" me. While we hate not being noticed its also hard when you are noticed. It's harder to run away.
That being said, honestly and deep down we both really want to make a connection here in this area. We have the people that we work with and thats about it. Michael and I both have a heart to serve. At Grace we have found that it is quite hard to jump into a ministry. Both of us have contacted the youth and children's department to inquire about helping. No reply. They put pleas for help in the bulletin for Sunday School Teachers. I e-mail, still no reply. Honestly when I was in a leadership role if anyone ever e-mailed me about helping I contacted them within 24 hours and I was jumping for joy that someone actually volunteered to serve instead of being "asked" to volunteer. So 5 e-mails later. No contact. I sent in my Ministry application. No reply.
While writing this I have come to realise that perhaps the reason that we have not felt compelled to attend church is because we have moved beyond the "spectator" into the "joining the mission phase". Then without any viable way to "join the mission" we have stalled. What should the next step be? Where should we go from here? Should we change churches once again? Should we give up going to church at all? Should we stick it out? What should we do?