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Featured Advice Regarding Church Attendance

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by ukuleleguy01, Mar 19, 2017 at 10:22 AM.

  1. ukuleleguy01

    ukuleleguy01 Newbie

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    Long story ahead, so buckle up.

    I am currently attending a church founded and operated by my grandparents. The church has about 40-50 regular members, and I have grown up here. (I'm currently 21.) Starting a couple years ago, I started to feel lonely at the church. At least 90% of church attenders are 40 and over, and there's no one around my age. I really don't have anyone that I am close to. Not that they aren't nice and caring people, but the church community that I feel like I need just isn't there. I'm involved in basically everything at church and feel like I try to socialize with others, but I just don't feel a strong connection.

    What complicates this even more is that I am currently the church's choir director and the pianist. I'm carrying a large load right now, and it gives me a lot of anxiety and stress. While I believe that I could be replaced without too much issue, I'm worried that things would just get awful for my family when trying to understand with my stepping down, much less leaving their church.

    I've been invited to a church in the past with some college students and other people that I know, and they have many opportunities to serve in the church and in the community. I think I would like going there, but I hate to feel like I'm turning into a church shopper.

    So my question is, should I stay with this church or should I look for another church?
     
  2. South Bound

    South Bound I stand with Israel.

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    <staff edit>
    I understand how you feel about not having people your own age but the church isn't a social club

    Did you know that the Bible instructs young men such as yourself to find older saints and emulate them?

    If the goal is to grow toward maturity then why surround yourself with immature people?

    What wisdom do you plan to get from a 21 year old?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2017 at 9:35 PM
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  3. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    ukuleleguy,

    Leaving it would seem to pose several problems. For one, you'd be quitting your very important service to the congregation, even if they could replace you. For another, you have the problem with your family, which you noted. But neither can you go on indefinitely if the church isn't the one for you.

    I suggest reducing your commitment to the present church gradually while becoming somewhat more attached to or involved with the new church. As a visitor, that is. If you avoid doing something abrupt, you could pave the way for a complete change without looking like a quitter or turncoat, and it might be that attending the other church for awhile will show you its warts and change your mind, at least about that one being the answer to what you're seeking.
     
  4. timewerx

    timewerx tanks for the time!

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    Be honest and tell them you found this great church and there are people your age.

    They probably would understand as to rest of the church as well

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian Presbyterian Supporter

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    I agree. If I may explain my personal situation a bit....my small group at church is composed of 8 people. At the age of 37, I am the youngest member of my church small group. The other small group members are at least 15 to 20 years older than me. I definitely benefit from their wisdom
     
  6. PaaKne

    PaaKne New Member

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    I'm 16 and agree to South Bound. The Church is not a social club, it is the LORDs family, and your local church your closest relatives in that family.

    Provided that a church is run like HE wants and not like "someone" wants, you should look for the possibilites in your (local) church, not the fences,

    <staff edit> my opinion is that you can get wisdom - loads of wisdom - from some persons 21 years old, as God give his wisdom where he see that is needed, not to those who has lived for XX years (and Paul also instruct the young Timothy "let no man despise thy youth..., 1st Timothy 4,12A). However, the possibilty for meeting maturity is statistically larger in a grout with average age 40 than a grout with average age 20, that has someting to do with the number of years in school of life and years walking together with Christ! Thus, don't complain the possibility to surrond yourself with mature people, rather consider that like av gift from heaven. Instead, take a look in the mirror and some time on your knees and seek som answers to why you don't feel a strong connection to your breatren and sisters where you are. Connection in this way has nothting to do with "summers lived - and a talk by expericence as the person I have learned more from than any else in our church is between 80 and 90!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2017 at 9:44 PM
  7. timewerx

    timewerx tanks for the time!

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    I see you point! OP should probably disregard my earlier post!
     
  8. Monna

    Monna New Member

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    ukuleleguy,
    have you talked to your grandparents about how you feel? on all the points you've raised.

    I have to assume that you have talked to the Lord about your situation. And I assume that you are either not getting very clear direction, or that you don't particularly like/feel comfortable with the direction you're getting. Whichever case you have, you're not alone. Keep talking with the Lord and examine yourself with his help. At some stage He might simply say "move out in faith, and see what happens!"

    When you are serving out a sense of duty, obligation, or to avoid a sense of guilt, and not out of genuine love, ultimately the consequences will show both among those you're trying to serve, and within yourself. Some of the feelings you mention suggest that the consequences within you are already beginning to show. You seem not to be able to participate with all the joy and enthusiasm you possibly think you should experience. Sometimes the Lord lets us feel a thirst for something more to get us to move. These are the types of things that you need to take up with your grandparents and parents - I have to assume that they have your best interests at heart. (On the other hand maybe they think that your best interests lie in doing what they want you to do where you are, rather than giving you the freedom to decide for yourself. I understand that this can be a dilemma.)

    I belong to the older generation that you seem to be having trouble connecting with. I can empathise with you. In many cases I would rather be with young people than older ones - if I listen to young people I can often relive the questions, the excitements, but also the doubts and urges that I experienced at their age (and I love the sense of rediscovery!). I'm not so sure these young people appreciate how much they mean to me. Paul said to Timothy "don't let anyone despise your youth."

    One thing I believe is important: don't move to get away from something, only move towards something that you feel the Lord is directing you to. Often the things we try to run away from are within us, and when we move, we find they are still with us. So we remain disatisfied.

    I wish you all the best in this decision that you face.
     
  9. BeStill&Know

    BeStill&Know Well-Known Member Supporter

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    agreed, to the OP > and your life is no longer yours remember? pray and ask the Lord for His instructions
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2017 at 9:36 PM
  10. Monna

    Monna New Member

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    <staff edit>I have learned a lot from 21 year olds, 16 year olds, and currently I am (re)learning things from my 1 and 3 year old grandchildren. Many of us forget the things we supposedly learned as children and young people. And we need to be reminded. It's very much a question of attitude.
    I find myself realising that the circumstances my children and grandchildren are trying to cope with are significantly different from those I faced at their age. And this forces me to rethink a lot of things I thought I "knew" reinterpreting them for a different "now" and getting to a deeper level of principle and priority.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2017 at 9:38 PM
  11. Code Phox

    Code Phox Created

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    The church is the body of Christ. A family of faith coming together in fellowship. I trust you know this, it's not about the position you hold in the organization.. But spiritual growth being amplified from being around others who aid this growth, that's what fellowship is. A full body can accomplish more than just one part, you are just one part.

    Now, I'm 25 and attend a church with the majority being elderly. I prefer this, as someone at the age of 50 has lived for twice my lifetime.. This can only mean I can learn from them a great amount from their life experience. I value growth which is not always enjoyable, but worth it.
    If you are not growing where you are, it may be best you find a place that will encourage growth.
    However, you may experience growth where you are now if you approached it with a different mindset.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017 at 12:24 PM
  12. dhh712

    dhh712 Mrs. Calvinist Dark Lord

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    I think you're looking into the wrong reasons for considering leaving this church. The question should be: is the Lord Jesus appropriately worshiped here? Is God's word taught correctly, is the Gospel preached? Those should be the questions upon which you base your decision to leave this church. The people you feel you need are secondary. God has put you where you are and he may need you to interact with these people in ways you have not thought of.

    (I don't think your post is long either-- the important thing is that it's broken into paragraphs!! : )
     
  13. PaaKne

    PaaKne New Member

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    Agree. This is your closest relatives in the familiy of God and the LORD didn't put you random here.
     
  14. Paidiske

    Paidiske Bodily member Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    I can understand the difficulty of a generation gap and being alone as a young person in church. Often we feel looked down on and judged by our elders, there can be a sense that they're out of touch with our particular struggles, and there can be little respect when we do find and exercise our gifts. Sometimes I feel very isolated. So I'm not going to tell you off for wanting some solidarity with people your own age on this pilgrimage of faith!

    That said, I think the key question is, are you growing where you are? Are you learning and being given opportunities to exercise your gifts? Or do you feel as if you are stagnating and you are looking for the next phase in your own development?

    Because if you're growing and learning, even if it's not always fun, I'd be cautious about suggesting that you move. But if you're stagnating, maybe it's time to find the right place that will be the next step for you. If that makes sense?
     
  15. gym_class_hero

    gym_class_hero Member

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    could you find a Bible study to attend during the week with people your age and stay at the church you currently attend? Might be a way to fill the void you feel in your walk.
     
  16. LinkH

    LinkH Regular Member

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    Do you have time to go to a mid-week meeting, at a church or college ministry, that wouldn't conflict with your ministry schedule?
     
  17. friend of

    friend of Member

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with attending service at other church's. The body of Christianity should be found in all congregations regardless of denomination and seeking out fellowship is a rewarding experience!

    As far as letting your family down, well, we all have decisions to make about our own lives and there comes a point where it can be psychologically unhealthy (especially for young 20-somethings) to feel that they have to cave in to every demand from their folks. You need to allow yourself to grow and make your own mistakes and decisions. I struggled with anxiety and codependencyou for much of my early 20s because I was in an environment where I was never commended for anything I tried to do on my own. The result is that I lacked confidence in making decisions that were life changing but in a way that would be beneficial, I still hesitated, because I learned to think that outside input was always needed.

    I say, attend some new church's, tell your family you're going there to find more people your age, don't completely opt out of your main church. They should be able to handle this.
     
  18. ChristianFromKazakhstan

    ChristianFromKazakhstan Well-Known Member

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    Find a new church.

    No one should force you worship the Lord where you don't want to.
     
  19. mnphysicist

    mnphysicist Have Courage to Trust God!

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    Congregations which have an extremely tilted age demographic which is also tightly tied to its founding families far too often shift from being a church to a family chapel. Once family chapel status occurs, its near impossible for the church to remain an ongoing concern.. pretty much it becomes an idol kept up to memorialize the founders, until either memories fade away due to aging, or family can no longer afford to keep it up.

    This does not always occur, sometimes elders see the dangers on the wall well before hand, and take overt steps to prevent such from happening. This is not an easy thing for any concerned... its hard for Dad to tell his son that he should consider serving the body of Christ elsewhere. Its hard for the congregation too, and can be hard for a young person to step outside of family tradition and expectations, even if they know why it is a good idea to go so. Granted, reading through all the family and church leadership demographics is hard... but you might try and do some probing in this to discern where folks lean. This could be one of those times where they will applaud you exploration elsewhere.

    Or it could be a real mess too... especially if idol building is already in process.
     
  20. geiroffenberg

    geiroffenberg Member

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    dont listen to the ppl who wants you to suffer. You may feel dissatisfied and wanting to seek anotehr community for the simple reason God is calling you, and you just look at the circumstances and see different reasons to leave, but deep within you just want to move on because its a hunger in your heart, and its put there by the spirit of God. THere is no rule in the world that should stop you from doing what your spirit tells you to do, specially when your own toughts and other ppl tries to stop you, thatn just go for it. You can alwasy come back later if you did a wrong turn, thats just being humbl and admit you took a wrong turn. If they cant let you do that, then the church sucks anyway.