If Church Doesn’t Provide Meaningful Connection, Then You Need to Fix It or Find a Different Church
Despite being the most connected generation, Millennials are also reportedly the loneliest. It seems their massive number of online friends and followers offer them only superficial relationships that lack meaningful interaction.
They crave connections with others that touches them at a significant level, but social media falls short in accomplishing this deep heartfelt need.
That’s why “hanging out with friends” seems to be their favorite, most desired activity.
I think that’s what church is all about. Or at least that’s what it should be all about.
The early church spent time together. We need to reclaim this, not just for the Millennials, but for our own wellbeing, too.
But hanging out doesn’t mean passive pew sitting, staring at the back of people’s heads for an hour. True community can’t occur when listening to the Sunday lecture that we call a sermon.
Meaningful connection with each other doesn’t happen during the concert-like atmosphere we label as worship, where a couple of skilled musicians attempt to lead a largely unresponsive throng in singing.
And don’t get me started on the disingenuous greeting time wedged into the middle of a service: it is too long for the socially challenged and too short for meaningful interaction.
This opportunity for true, meaningful community does not take place during the church service; it occurs after the benediction. When the final “amen” is uttered the clock-watchers flee, and a few people hang out to talk. Every church has a few of these folks.
Though they may be the social butterflies, they may also be the ones who understand why we are supposed to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). They seek profound community.
Although this time of hanging out could reside on the surface, talking about safe (and meaningless) topics, such as the weather, the game, or the Sunday dinner menu, the wise people focus on discussions that matter.
We listen to each other on the heart level. We minister to and serve one another, we pray and are prayed for, and we encourage and are encouraged.
When we do this, we prepare ourselves and our church community for the week ahead so that we can go out into our greater community and be Jesus to them.
True church community is the key to make this happen. Don’t let the official church service get in the way.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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