As a pastor, you hear many people say many things. But some phrases/ thoughts/ sayings you definitely end up hearing said more than others. One that I have heard over the course of 6 years as a pastor several times is “I am just not connecting at the church.” If it is a couple, it changes to something like “we are just not connecting.” Some people spin – “we just have not found our place or we are not sure this place is a good fit, or we have struggled to make relationships” – you get the point. I have to admit, when I hear this, most of the reactions in my head are not ones that people would want to hear back. Every situation and every personality/ family is unique, but in most scenarios where people feel this way there are several similar themes.
- the person or family is not in a small group or ministry where they serve with others
- if they are “involved” in a group or ministry, their attendance is sporadic at best
- the individual or family expects to be chased down and invited, rather than seek out how to serve and get involved
- they have not given relationships a chance to blossom (they want a fairly immediate connection)
- this is a less frequent, but many times the person or family has some social skills deficiencies
I hesitate to even communicate number 5, because the bigger reality is this. Making connections is a two way street. You have to put yourself out there. You have to get involved. You have to make an effort. You have to be available and around. You will reap what you sow in this area. Please be careful to blame a group, or a family, or a church, or a team when you are not willing to put yourself out there.
Now with that said – a few things to consider:
- churches, individuals, families, teams can struggle and frankly sometimes stink at creating opportunities to connect – if you see that, do not run – instead help them and get involved at fixing this
- put yourself out there – take the risk of getting involved or attending, even when you are not invited
- most environments are going to work out just fine if you will take the risk to attend
- if every environment you attend seems to be bad at creating connections, maybe you need to look at yourself and your expectations
- real connections take time and effort – don’t expect to microwave that