Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Ways to Increase your Fellowship at Church

Many of us tend to go to church once a week, for one hour and then head home. We don't talk to anyone, we don't go for special events. We just go, listen and leave. That's a great first step, but what comes after that? A lot of the time that can lead to backsliding in faith. We go to church, and we end up spending our week in immoral acts, with a lack of kindness and love for our fellow man.
At almost any church there will be ways to connect that will keep us enthusiastic about our spirituality.
Fellowship is mentioned prominently in the Bible such as in Hebrews 10:19-25 "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Clearly God wants us to cultivate close knitting with our churches and to engage actively in them. Here are some ways to make that happen.
1. Stay after and meet people - A simple first step to becoming more involved at your local church is to stay after . Most churches will at least occasionally have coffee or a sit down meal in the basement. Grab a copy of the weekly church bulletin and watch for events. Remember to smile and be personable. Good starting conversations might be talking about that weeks sermon, or coming events at the church. I was extremely nervous at first to go up and talk to members of my church. I'm not very good at social situations and I was already nervous being there. Thankfully some members came up to me and made me feel welcome. Rem ember getting outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable at first, but there are vast rewards in the long term.
2. Attend Bible studies - This is a great way to meet spiritually intellectual individuals in the congregation and share an interest in the Bible. Most churches will have weekly Bible studies depending on the size. These get togethers are usually about an hour in length . At them you'll go through chapters of the Bible and discuss the meaning s of various passages and statements. This can be a great way to increase your understanding of scripture in general. I always learn something new at these meetings.
3. Volunteer for set up and take down - There are always tasks to be completed before and after church. This can include setting up chairs, preparing food, or just cleaning. Consider volunteering to read passage during mass, or assist the spiritual leader in duties during ceremonies. Obviously depending on the denomination there will be difference tasks that need completing. Also watch for church picnics or meals, and offer to assist in food preparation or set up . This will show the congregation you care, help you meet people, and make you feel better overall. I know helping out before church makes me really feel like pa rt of the family. And that's what a congregation is, a family.
4. Participate on the churches website - Almost all congregations now have at least a limited internet presence. Consider signing up for the church e mail newsletter. This will come to your email and include things you'd normally see on paper bulletins. The church website might have merchandise you can purchase . There will probably be plenty of information about upcoming events, church service times, contact information for the ministry, and even ways to communicate with other church members via the internet. Watch for a chat room or forum and communicate with others via these tools. On my church website I've done things like request information about being baptized and emailed the pastor about issues and concerns.
5. Join a church support group - Are you having trouble with issues including grief, mental health, alcoholism, addiction, sexual immorality, or suffer from a disease? Many churches will have support groups that meet weekly. This will be a group of people who get together to share their struggles and gain strength from each other. I've found these particularly useful with my issues. We all have issues, and it's OK to seek support. You'll make new friends and gain a new God-given strength to take on these struggles. I highly recommend it.