Many of you may read this title and think, so what. But this was the first time I had been around people, other than family and a few quick shopping trips in 13 months. So, for me, it was a big deal.
I am an introvert. And not just a person with some introvert tendencies. I could be a poster child for introversion. I am quite comfortable being alone for extended periods of time. For weeks and months at a time. I enjoy being around a few people at a time, for limited periods of time. But crowds make me uncomfortable.
I have attended worship services at a local church all my life, although generally smaller churches. The church I am currently a part of now is much larger than any I can remember. I have been a part of that body for about 4 years now, although the last year has been via Zoom and Facebook Live. I still have not found my place within the body. So mostly I participate in worship services and Bible studies, sing in the choir, and contribute financially. And, after 4 years, I still feel somewhat like an outsider.
I am not blaming anyone for that. It is just who and what I am. I sometimes wish I were different. But I am not. And I am mostly satisfied with being who God made me to be. But being an extreme introvert in an environment dominated by extroverts can be challenging.
Anyway, this morning I attended our worship service for the first time. I have to admit I was apprehensive about moving back into society, even within the safe confines of the church. It was tempting to put it off for a while. But I know that I need to be an active part of the church. And putting it off would only make it harder. So I went.
I wish I could say that the experience was good. While there were some aspects that I enjoyed, like singing with a crowd rather than in front of my TV, overall I struggled with the experience. The dynamics of the church have changed in the past year. That is not a negative, just the way things are. And it felt like I was starting over again. Apart from a small handful of people, I had no interaction with anyone. Again, I am not pointing fingers. I could easily have approached more people, but did not.
Will I go back next week? At this point I am undecided. If I am going to have to start over again, maybe it should be in a smaller body where I have a better chance to be more than just an attender. I will be praying about it all week.
If you have read this far and find yourself in the same position, I would encourage you to not drop out. Even though it is tempting and would be easy to do, we need to be an active part of a living and active body of Christ. Without that we will not grow as believers. Being a part of a local body is vital to our growth as disciples of Christ.
If you are not in the same place that I am, along with many others I am sure, and do not understand where I am coming from, I would encourage you to be supportive nonetheless. I believe you need us as much as we need you. All the parts of the body are necessary. God has put us together for a purpose, and he does not make mistakes. Introverts and extroverts are different in many ways. But we both bring something of value to the life of the body. You may not understand us any more than we understand you. But I would encourage you to utilize our gifts and passions as much as you do your own.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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8 thoughts on “I Attended In-Person Worship Service Today”
Ed you are hitting the nail on the head for me. But I don’t think this is about Covid this is about feeling out of place in church as an introvert. But it is coming to light now there is another option.
I have never felt comfortable in church but I just keep pressing on and understand why I need to be there.
However, there are many lost souls in society who won’t step foot in church but will turn up online. We need an online community to be there waiting for them. What about those with a disability, they need a community to worship with and online has its place. I encounter the Holy Spirit going to a church online with a 12 hour time difference! Church unlimited Newzealand will get you serving the online church before you’re even through a service. They value online worshippers equal to those in the building because people are getting saved online.
I’m convinced of this: We should be up to date. 1 Chronicles 12:32
I understand the big rush to get everyone back to church in person but is this really coming from God ? Yes it’s biblical to worship together but more than ever I have learned now that Sunday is not the main event it is part of the constant flow of worship from Mon-Sun.
Thanks Lindsey. I’ll take a look at Church unlimited Newzealand. I do feel the need to connect in person, even though I could easily avoid it. But I do see the possibilities for online presence as well. We have been worshipping online for the past 13 months. It has been good, but could is still missing something. We can always learn from the success of others.
1 Chronicles 12:32 – https://aclayjar.net/2020/12/understanding-the-times/
BTW, love your last name. Same as mine. 🙂
I have been attending the same church for 23 years through three Pastors and 1 interim. We were physically closed for this covid issue until February yet we watched online worship and Pastor’s messages and worshipped together 4-5 of us. Currently, there is very little fellowship and socializing and we are required (asked to) wear masks at church. I am not apprehensive about moving into society neither should you. Yesterday instead of a message I listened as the Pastor and Associate Pastor explained and promoted our church as an online “campus”. I was deeply troubled. Tuesday’s my wife and I meet with 6-13 other believers for bible study. This has gone on for 19 years and Thursday’s I meet with 3-5 men for bible study. As a church member, Deacon, past teacher of children, and a menagerie of adult classes nothing replaces the face-to-face experience. Only two paths do I see, an online church or an active church using online to supplement. There are plenty of online churches where the wolves feast. I’ve read a number of your writings. The gate is narrow,…. it seems to be getting narrower.
I most definitely agree that meeting face to face is much preferred to online. And that is truly my desire. Just wanting it does not always make it happen. But I do trust that God will lead in this as he has led over the past 50 years of my walk with him. I just need to listen and obey.
I know you already know what I’m about to say, but just for encouragement, here goes. I lean more heavily toward the extrovert side, but even so, I have my own set of issues I struggle with. I am not comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, and having to say a prayer for a group sends me into panic mode. I wish I wasn’t that way. The thing I’ve learned is we all fit in the body of Christ according to His design. I am one of the toes, or possibly a knuckle (as in knucklehead Lol). But I’m happy to serve however I can.
I would, however, encourage you to pray about a smaller church. The discomfort you are experiencing may be the Holy Spirit leading you somewhere else. Most of my adult church attendance has been in larger churches. My wife and I now attend a small (15-20 old folks) and I absolutely love our little church.
Just my two cents worth.
Thanks for your encouraging words. I am continuing to pray about the situation. But at this time I believe that God is impressing on me that I am the church as much as the rest of those within the body. And I need to be more proactive rather than waiting for something to happen. How can I rightly expect something of others that I am not doing myself.
Hi Ed! Lynda
Hi Lynda. I did enjoy the music yesterday. Much easier to sing along with a bunch of other people. Singing to my TV is strange.