Eschew Church Hermitism
Do you ever come to church and feel a bit overwhelmed by the shear number of people? Boy, I sure do. I was sharing with the folks at Discover Evergreen on Sunday about how my most natural wiring is to keep to myself and to primarily spend time with just my family. I’m not shy, I’m just happy to sit quietly in a corner. Preferably with a snack. I have the internal make-up of a really good hermit.
It is a challenge to be an introvert and to fully embrace the relational aspect of life in a church body. I know that so many of you all can relate to this feeling. If you’re like me, you experience the temptation each weekend to come into the worship service and quickly find a seat, to keep mostly to yourself, exchange a few pleasantries with the friends you already have when it’s all over, and make haste to return to the peace and quiet of the car, where it’s safe.
To be as effective as I can be in loving others here at EBC, and to experience a huge part of God’s purpose and blessing in putting us together in the church, I have to push past my natural boundaries. It requires a willful decision. For me, it simply will not happen naturally. But I’ve been working out this “muscle” of making relationships here at EBC for 16+ years now, and while it still isn’t natural, I am thankful to say that it is far easier to push past those natural boundaries than it used to be. Sometimes I even enjoy it!
The reason I’m writing is certainly obvious. If you are an introvert like me, I want to encourage you, too, to push past those boundaries. To believe that God has great blessings for you as you fully embrace His design to be engaged in the lives of others in your church family. I want to encourage you to look around before and after a worship service and choose to engage in conversation and get to know folks. Stick around and build relationships, rather than leaving quickly when a worship service is over. No, this isn’t going to be easy if that isn’t your natural inclination. It requires work. Sometimes hard work. But some of the fruit of that work will be real relationships with people who know and care for you. And some other fruit will come from opportunities you suddenly have to be a blessing and use the gifts God has put inside you to encourage, comfort, and strengthen others, as well. It’s not easy for many of us, but it’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Pastor Ryan Donovan