By Nicole Kerr
I was having a conversation with some friends the other day and a statement came up that has become all too familiar: “I just don’t feel connected anymore.” I don’t know how many times over the past year I’ve heard this sentiment expressed. The last few years have taken the “Etch A Sketch” of our lives and shaken it up until we don’t recognize up from down. Our lives before the pandemic may not have been masterpieces, but we had them drawn out with familiar lines that for the most part we were comfortable with. Now that is all gone. We lost connection.
The pandemic left many of us longing for the connections that we took for granted for so long. Whether it was our routine with work, the flow of the school year, time with friends, or holidays with family, none of it is the same. Along with all of that, our relationship with church has been affected more than we would like to admit. For me it has been hard to get back into the swing of things after being away. I’ve noticed a significant reshuffling of faces. People I was used to seeing each week are no longer there, replaced by new faces I don’t recognize. I don’t feel connected.
I need to come clean about something. I naturally lean towards introversion, so I was living my best life when everything shut down and I rarely needed to go anywhere or see anyone. Coming back to church with people I didn’t know felt like starting from scratch. It takes significant energy for me to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people I barely know. It would be so much easier to just stay home and continue watching church online. It would be less stressful to stay home on Monday nights instead of rushing from work in order to travel across town to pick up our kids, drive to our home outside of town to pack a quick dinner that we can eat in the car, and get back to town in time for our community group. But I need to be connected.
Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12 that all believers have different spiritual gifts. We are not the same, but we are all part of the same body. One part can’t function as it was designed without the others. The fall of Adam and Eve led to division. We too often think we can do it all on our own, or we choose to be in community with people who look, think, and act like us, but these are poor ways to grow.
I need my community of other parents with young kids to encourage me and help me navigate the trials of toddlerhood. I need people whose lives look like mine who are going through what I am going through so I know that I am not alone. But I also need you.
I need my pastor who hears from God differently than I do and can speak truth to me in ways I may have never thought about. I need that freshman student who helps out in the pre-school class on Sundays and can entertain my three-year-old ball of energy for an hour so I can participate in service. I need the couple on stage who come with different life experiences to help lead me in worship every week. I need the man who sits on the other side of the sanctuary from me with his hands always lifted in worship despite his cancer diagnosis. I need the empty nesters who make themselves available to love on my kids when my husband and I desperately need a date night. I need other women who can come alongside me and pray for and with me and encourage me. I need you.
Now I am going to give myself some advice so that I can get reconnected, and hopefully you will find it helpful as well.
- Make yourself available. If you tend to run out of church immediately after the final amen, try sticking around for a while. Volunteer for a ministry where you interact with other people. Join a small group/community group. You can’t make connections if you don’t make yourself available.
- Ask for help. People like to feel needed. One of the best ways to form a connection with someone is to let them fill a need that you may have.
- Be a connector. No one likes to enter a conversation that is already taking place, so if you are having a conversation with a friend and you see someone standing nearby, invite them over and fill them in on your conversation.
- Pray. Ask God to show you ways you can get connected back to your local church and fellow believers.
We need you!
About the Author
Nicole Kerr received her marketing degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently serves as the Executive Assistant to Open Bible President Randall A. Bach. Her family’s mission is to minister to future generations and help them become leaders and people of influence. Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband, Aaron, and two energetic boys, Benaiah and Jonathan, and writing about what GOD is speaking to her as she is being stretched and refined in each season of life.