We've been church shopping. Anyone who has done this before knows it can be a trying experience. Anyone who has not done this before, probably should.
It can be isolating. It can be funny. It can be frustrating. And then, once you find the church and decide to make it your home, you have to start that process of getting involved. Which really means putting yourself out there and enduring awkward moments and getting to know people. If moving teaches you anything, it teaches you to be open with people and make friends.
I was reminded of when I first moved to Nebraska and was looking for a church. I would sit in my chair and wait for someone to come talk to me. Week after week. Just waiting for someone to serve me and see that I was alone and I needed a friendly face and a conversation. Then I would be upset that nobody reached out to me. But I made no effort. Even when people did come and talk, I was guarded and held back.
Unfortunately, I think we all do this too often, even when we have been going to a church for years. I have known women who feel alone at their church. They aren't involved. They don't like it. They sit there in their own little bubble and wait for someone to reach out to them. Before long, she is now thinking that people don't like her and that they are saying things about her and that she is unwelcome. And you can see where this can lead.
But that can be our default. It takes work to talk to the new person. It takes work for the new person to talk to the people who already have friends and ministries. It takes work to do more than just talk to someone one time and call them or email them during the week. It all requires us to let go of ourselves and reach out to others.
On Sunday I was visiting a church. I know lots of people there, but it isn't my church and I like to hid in the back on my own. Across the aisle were some people I knew from Nebraska. They were church shopping and this was their first Sunday and even though this wasn't my church, I was the person God put there to welcome them.
So it reminded me. That no matter whether it is my first Sunday or my 100th, I am not here to be served. I am here to serve.