Wednesday, August 31, 2011

new but not known

We have been visiting a new church, looking for a congregation we can be a part of and serve in. We thought the potluck dinner this past Sunday (prior to the concert of praise time) would be a fun, social-activity way to meet/see some more people at the church. It was, but at the same time it brought up an awkwardness, not necessarily new to us at all, but yet a little different
It's just plain hard being the "new kid."

As a pastor and wife, we have been in new churches, shaking tons of hands, learning new names and faces, feeling overwhelmed at the sheer volume of "newness" that we had to navigate through. What was different this weekend, was being new, but not being known. When my husband has been voted in to be on staff at a church, the congregation knows who we are and wants to personally get to know us, and will come out of their way to introduce themselves to us.

At the potluck the other night, in the beginning, we felt invisible. Well, maybe not so much invisible as unseen. We found a table, getting our pick of the bunch because everyone was already in line. But, that meant we couldn't be adventurous and approach a table with four empty spots because we didn't know just how many were taken at a table, etc. That and we're just not that forthright, I guess. So, we juggled our toddler (who wanted nothing more than cookies to eat and to run around wild - that got us noticed, lol) and eventually all landed at the table with food. Through the course of the evening, waiting in line, and then walking to the worship time in the sanctuary, we were approached by some people who introduced themselves and asked about us. So, I don't want to make it out like the church was unfriendly, but it was just a sad, familiar feeling, not knowing anyone.

How do you handle being "new"? Would you rather approach people or have them approach you?


Pradeepa said...

Yes, it is always awkward to be new is a place where you don't know anyone. I normally wait for someone to make a move, if it dosen't happen I will take the plunge. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Rebekah said...

We've been there so many times - we move a lot. The hardest thing for me is that it usually takes about 6 months to a year to really get to where you can plug in as a 'known' entity. It takes about that long to establish for your new congregation that, yes, we really are Christians, serious-minded and grounded and wanting to grow. The way we handle it is to plunge right in, find a Sunday School class, join the choir, get the kids involved, study, speak up, get involved, don't wait for people to come to you too much. It's not easy, especially for me - I tend to be kind of introverted, but it's so worth it.

Lisa writes... said...

I am so sorry for your feeling unknown and unseen. It is a difficult and sometimes awkward adjustment, being new. I pray the Lord leads you to a church family where you are not only known but loved and where you may strive side by side for the gospel with a community of likeminded believers.