What you bring to it

I’ve known a number of people who have drifted from one church to the next, away from or toward a particular church or religion, simply based on how much they felt a connection with those they interact with. For the most part I believe that what makes a good church or a bad church is in what you bring to it.

Now granted, how much a congregation or group does do to make the people around them welcome does play a part, as do the beliefs of the group you are attempting to connect with, but both of these take a back seat to your own perceptions of the people involved.

I have seen people be given many opportunities to attend gatherings or participate in activities and encouraged to join in sharing part of their lives with others only to have them refuse at each step of the way, then complain because no one cares about them.

I have seen others call those at their local church “hypocrites” because of some perceived notion that those people did or did not help something to happen, then refuse to help others around them or even get to know their neighbors.

In both of these cases, life for these people would have been a great deal better if they had concentrated on why they believe what they believe and in working to do more to help strengthen their beliefs. It helps to also remember that the people in your church also believe many of the same things as you, and are struggling with many of the same things.

Your faith cannot be a “me vs them” proposition – no matter what you believe, you have to start thinking of everyone around you as part of “us”.

So – do you feel disconnected from your church? Maybe the people just haven’t gotten a chance to know you. What barriers have you put up to keep them from knowing you? It is possible that some will treat you different because you don’t meet their specific criteria, but those are always vastly outnumbered by those who don’t care about those things.

Ultimately, you will do the best to make your church or group a better place by being the kind of person you want to find there. No matter what the circumstances or how shut-out some people may try to make you feel, you are the only one who can determine how you will deal with it.

A congregation is good or bad because of what you bring to it.

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