So I've been thinking of why I go to church. I've been thinking about how the corporate church treats someone like myself. So with that, I'll have to start at the beginning.
The first church I went to, and later became a member of, I never truly belonged. After first grade I started going to public school because its expensive to send 3 kids to Christian school. That didn't help me fit in at all. 99% of the kids went to Christian school. The other ones that didn't go fit in because of family. The only family I had in this town was my immediate family. Again didn't help. Everyone was related somehow.
So when I was old enough, I started to go to another church. It was a little happier place. I saw some smiles there. Another plus, they had a youth group that met on Wednesday nights. It was fine for awhile, but it wasn't the same after my friends started graduating.
Luckily, during high school I was going to another youth group. This one met on Sunday nights. I liked it. I had friends there. Though no one else talked to us, we had each other. We were good friends with the youth pastor. (We still talk sometimes.) After high school, I stayed at this one for a long time. I became a youth leader myself. Though I never taught one lesson. I even became a Sunday teacher, a VBS leader, and ran the computer for service. During that time, the youth pastor got called to another church and my friends went on to other ministries. I was left alone.
I got my brother & his kids to go to church there for awhile. It was nice, but my brother left because no one talked to him. You see, he had long hair & dressed like a biker. How dare he go to church looking like that? (Please note the sarcasm) I stayed for awhile. I told myself it was for the kids I was helping. It really wasn't. I got complacent. I started noting how many people would sit near me. On most Sundays, if you didn't know better, you would think I had leprosy or bad body odor. The row behind me - empty. The row I sat in - empty. The row in front of me - empty. It's enough to make you feel loved. So from an urging from a friend, I found a new church.
I started going to this very small church. It had about 20 - 40 people on any given Sunday. They had a praise band and the pastor was okay. But I quickly found out it was an 'Alcoholics for Christ' church. It didn't bother me at first. After a year, I decided to to go to their Bible study after church. It was fine at first. Then I started to get attacked because I didn't believe the same way they did. I like to help people, they told me its because I was a 'people pleaser'. If you know anything about me, that isn't the case. Luckily, one of my friends invited me to her church.
So here I go again. I went to a new church. I liked this one at first. It was freeing. If I felt like dancing I could. If I just wanted to be, I could. I like the way the did communion. Grape juice in a wine glass and the most flavorful bread. We all came forward. Words would get spoken, we would clink on glasses and drink up like it was a celebration. Well, because it is!
Things were going well, then it happened. The pastor and his wife became controlling. I don't think they meant to in a mean way. Everything had to be just so, when before, it was more Spirit led. Next thing I knew, they decided to move church to Saturday nights at their condo. Two problems at the beginning. #1 - I work second shift, so Saturday night is my one night to see friends and go out. #2 - Their condo. 30+ people in one condo. New cork floors. Too controlled of an enviroment for me.
So I went in search of another church. Luckily, I remembered a church from a New Year's Eve service. So I started going there. It's okay. I don't really talk to a lot of people. They have their cliques. I do like that I am able to worship the way I want. Its not always the way they would like though, but its not up to them.
So why did I write all this, you ask? It's simple. Corporate church will never accept me. They say they do, but in reality, when I don't show up to church, no one misses me. No one talks to me during the week. That's not the reason I go to corporate church. I learned a long time ago, that I am the church. Jesus lives in me. He uses me as a vessel when needed. Wherever I am. I go to church to get that little boost I need to go out into the world.
I try when I'm at church, if I see someone new or sitting alone, to talk to them. Let them know that someone cares. I have to remember not to be bitter. I'm a work in progress. Though there are times I want to scream at people, that's not what I'm called to do. So if you're reading this, and you go to church, please think of the people who don't fit in. Don't pity us, but talk to us. A lot of us of walls built up, so you might need to help us tear them down.
Thank you & God bless!