Over and over as I talk to people, I find that even if they are attending a church regularly, they don't always feel connected to others. Sometimes it's in a big church so they love the preaching or the music or the wide variety of ministries but they lack personal connection. It's so big they can attend weekly and only occasionally see someone they know. To really connect they have to get involved in a home bible study but even then, the chances of seeing those people on the weekend at church are small. Unfortunately, making connections in a small church can be just as difficult. It seems like it would be easier because there are fewer people. There is no crowd to get lost in or busyness to get caught up in. Even so, some fail to connect in a meaningful way to the people in the church. Usually it's because in a small church people tend to huddle up and miss the new people coming in. (Thankfully, I've seen lots of improvement at the Road on this one!)
It is essential that as a church we make it our goal to connect people in meaningful relationships. This means that we are constantly trying to introduce people to one another. We are inviting them to our FUEL groups. We are trying to have lunch or dinner gatherings after Sunday service. Maybe our families do something fun together on a Saturday afternoon. We schedule informal get-togethers throughout the week. Any way we can get to know people in the church.
I am naturally a connector. Introducing people to one another comes easily to me. When I meet someone I'm automatically thinking about who I should introduce them to. Not everyone thinks this way. But we can all make attempts to connect with people. Lately there have been lots of visitors and new people attending each campus. Make the effort to get to know them. Maybe they don't seem anything like you and don't appear to have much in common. You never know. You might get surprised. I'll never forget sitting down with the Caldwells and finding out that Bonnie and Jody's families came from the same tiny town in North Carolina. So random! Even if you don't have crazy connections or much in common you are helping yourself and others to connect in meaningful ways, beyond just, "hey, what's up?" on a Sunday morning.
People who feel connected in a church, no matter the size, are more likely to stay over the long term.
If you are new to the Road, welcome! I hope we're helping you connect. If you are a long-time Roadster, be a connector. Get to know others, especially our newer families. Let's get connected and stay connected.