We haven't really been connected with a local church community for over a year now. Sure, we still attend worship services most Sundays, but that's not really what we miss or are looking for in a church. We tried yet another one this past Sunday. We'll see...
I do like attending church services. I find great encouragement from them, enjoy seeing people, singing, praying with, and just generally being around others who are on somewhat of the same trajectory as me. I have attended bad services, good services, and all points in between. Certainly the good ones may leave me 'feeling' a bit better than the bad ones, but that is really so far removed from what I miss and want.
I miss/want a group of people who like to be together (even if we sometimes don't like each other).
I miss/want a group of people among whom we can share our joys and struggles.
I miss/want a group of people who aren't "performing."
I miss/want a group of people among whom we can sing terribly at times, loud and heart-felt at times, silently at times; and where we can enjoy energetic raucous music as well as the oldest of old hymns and dirges.
I miss/want a group of people who are interested in learning about and following Jesus and his teachings, but who don't think they have it all figured out.
I miss/want a group of people who want to be together to experience life outside of the service times.
I miss/want a group of people among whom I can be myself, and where others can be also.
I... I could go on. But I really miss being part of a church of misfits. And I wish I/we could find another church of misfits that would have us, accept us, and love us.
I'm tired of attending services where we are anonymous, where no one talks to us, where there are a great many people but no one knows us or are interested in getting to know us or us getting to know them.
I know this all sounds somewhat selfish and all... and it is... but I miss it; and I want it again too. I'm just sharing what's on my heart/mind today.
...(thinking back)... I can remember many years ago being so excited about 'the church.' I used to invite almost everyone I knew to be a part of the church I was part of (whether as a pastor or not). I loved God and I wanted others to find the peace inside that I had found. I can also remember times when I was embarrassed to invite people into this type of life - and it had little to do with God.
Anyway, I don't know that this will make sense to anyone else, and I haven't been able to fully explain what I want to say/do, but this is just something I wanted to write down. I used to love church. I still do... But I miss it; I miss being part of it. Oh, sure, I may be part of the Church universal.... but I miss being part of a local community of people walking and living their faith together.