Seven years ago when I came to this church, I felt like a stranger, a visitor, in what is suppose to be my church home.

I came from a small church where I was for over 20 years. I knew everyone, everyone knew me. I go to church and see all my friends. We’ve had many shared experiences, know each other well, give each other grace because “well, that’s just the way they are and we love them.” It was a church family.

Seven years ago when I transitioned to this church, I only knew a handful of of people. Most people didn’t know me. We’ve had no shared experiences to understand each other. Everyone else knew each other. They talked and laughed as old friends. I felt I was intruding into their family time. I felt left out, a feeling I’m not used to at my old church. I remember saying I didn’t like working at a church because I felt like I was just “hired” to do a job. It didn’t feel like ministry because ministry is always about the people.

Seven years later, I am fully integrated into the church. Even with over 1000 people, I know a lot of them, and they know who I am. Some have become close friends. When I come to church, it feels more like a church home. I am still here to do a job but it’s with people I know and love.

A person told me on Sunday that I seem to know a lot about what goes on and involved in many things at church. I take that as a compliment. My former small church was a church plant. I still have that mentality of being in everyone’s business, and serving in many areas. Everyone should know everyone. We should not limit ourselves to certain age groups of demographics.

I imagine it’s quite hard for a newcomer to feel comfortable at our church of 1000+. It takes time, it takes intentional efforts to make friends. It took me 3 years to get comfortable, and that’s with me being on staff and being here all the time and making efforts to talk to people. It takes effort on our part to not alienate new comers. It would help if we just treat them like old friends. Just jump right into it, I don’t like going through all the politeness. That would make me feel like always a visitor.


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