"I am secure in the love of my Father, but I’ve been unsure about the family of God. My relationships in every single church I have ever been a part of have been based on ministry performance.
My phone rang off the hook when I was in the swirl at our former large church. But once I pulled the plug and pulled back, the little red light on my answering machine stopped blinking. What happened? People I thought I had a caring friendship with were suddenly no longer all that interested in me.But how could they be? Our only context for relating was in church and in church related busyness. They loved me when we were in the building together. Sundays were awesome. For ninety minutes. But then, when the doors were closed and it seemed like I was usually one of the last ones to leave, I’d head home and for the next six days my life was disconnected. The phone quiet. Messages unreturned. Emails ignored."
"I go to church in search of my relationship with God. I don’t care if ever talk to anyone there. I go to talk to God and I don’t care if anyone talks to us. Yes it is nice to be greeted but I do not expect a relationship with them inside or outside of the church. I cry every time I go to church and no one ever asks me if I’m okay and if they did I would say “yes I am fine”. I would not discuss my feelings with them. I cry because it feels good and God is moving me and trying the help me heal my pain. My fellow church family can not do that for me no matter what they do or how they try to. My expectations of them are non existing. I don’t crave it I don’t need it. What I need are the people in my life that I have always needed the ones who make the effort to be a part of my life. I am not lonely when I go to church because I don’t seek comfort from the people but from God and if he is present in my life I will not be lonely."
"I would rather be around a bunch of losers on the street than in an environment where people are seemingly unwilling to be sort of real. It’s not that I expect too much; it’s that there’s too many bloody masks and I can’t be bothered with it all.
Take all those same people outside of the building and meet with them on a Thursday and it’d probably be fine."
"What I’ve learned is you can’t force friendships, just because you go to the same church, with people you wouldn’t be friends with otherwise. Yes, the expectations we have to that end are unreasonable. But then, what are the options? What is the value of this so-called community if there is no real community? Why go and sit with a bunch of “good acquaintances” once a week when I could have a coffee date with someone I have a deep, caring friendship with?"
Most churches where many are gathering can be lonesome places.
The theater or classroom layout of church gatherings creates a lonely atmosphere, unless it is a unconventional style of theater or learning environment.
Theater in the round causes the audience, the watchers, so see the audience. When you see other people's faces, it fosters community, belonging and warmth. Go a step further and involve the audience without embarrassing individuals.
An interactive classroom fosters community, learning and becoming known at the same time.
Impartation of knowledge through lecture must be combined with interaction from learners in a fail safe atmosphere.
Growing in the attributes of love, grace, and mercy are just as important as growing in wisdom, knowledge, and righteousness.
Friendliness is fostered through community.
Communion needs to come to the center of church again. Communion needs to be rediscovered as a meal shared that is symbolic of a life given and shared by Christ and reflected in his church sharing their lives together.
When this kind of church has a time of teaching, it will be a very warm. Like a family gathering in a living room.