Wednesday, March 04, 2009

churchity churchchurchchurch

as you loverly readers know, I am a regular church-goer. I sing in the choir. I volunteer. I'm on the communications committee. I worked with the youth group. I help with VBS. I'm the "church photographer." Recently I even got to participate in a Bible Study there. And I liked it.

Overall, I enjoy being a part of it. And I love our pastor. I love the building. The people are fantastic. Well, except for the part where they're always asking me to do things and be involved with this or that, but still...generally good.

However, I am having a bit of a problem with a new activity they're working on. You see, I am in that awkward age for most churches--the twenty-something. If you were involved in church before, you've graduated and moved on from whatever that was. You might've gone off to school for FOUR years which really changes things. Maybe you have a new career, or a new marriage, or a new baby, or a new house. New friends. You're paying for your own everything, from qtips to life insurance, and you're just in this period of CHANGE.

So, okay, fine, it makes sense that the church, any church, would want to cater to that group. They're probably establishing their lives and it's easier to encourage them to make room for church from the get-go than it is to have them carve out time later.

But, here's the thing:

My church is forming what they're describing as "a youth group for the 20 somethings." Play games, do service projects, raise funds, etc. Also, sounds fine in theory. But--and I'm guessing here--maybe MAYBE 20 people in our entire church fall into that category. MAYBE. Probably more like 12-15. That's including both of the ones that are a couple and anyone who is on the rolls. I'd imagine that if you broke that down to those who regularly attend you're at more like 8. Maybe 7.

It's's not that I think that doing this is bad or dumb or anything. Really, it might be a great opportunity for some people to become more active and all. But I guess I just feel A LOT of pressure to be a dedicated part of it. Like if I don't, someone will think less of me, or have their feelings hurt, or whatever. And quite frankly, I don't have the time/desire to make the time to go to a tuesday night meeting every other week. I don't want to stop rock climbing, I don't want to have another standing time commitment and I don't want this to "become a big thing" and "give all the help and support I can." Except I also don't want to deal with the whys and the wonderings.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, so I will be going to that just to see. I mean, I know it can't hurt. And I was honest with the gal who seems to be kind of leading it--I told her I'd come with I am available but I'm not making a commitment to be there--but still. I feel like I need to go explain to three-ish of the higher-on-the-totem pole people in the church.

And? This is probably the part of church that people like the least. The guilt-ish feeling for not giving more, more, more. Perhaps I'm just in a negative mood? Perhaps.

I'll let you know how it goes...


m-m-m-melissa said...

dude, i am with you on the guilt thing. when i was a regular church-goer, i ALWAYS felt really guilty for not going to some meeting or helping out with some event. ALWAYS. and it is the worst part, for sure. good luck. :)

Jax said...

*sigh* I applaud you for your commitment to the church already and often dont go to my own b/c of your very complaint. I actually feel badly when I just go and worship or hear the message..and go home. But, keep in mind, faith is a really personal thing rather than a time commitment, so if anyone gives you hell, just think that. I guess it's just back to that "you create your own expectations" statement I live by. Just draw some boundaries from the get-go and hopefully it'll make the new group easier to participate in. :) (and I cant sleep. hence the long comment. .hahaha)

Renee said...

As a church professional, I would rather people commit to one or two church activities (in addition to worship) and then actually show up for them regularly than try to do everything and show up only half the time for any given commitment. The other thing that people often don't get is that even if an activity is primarily "recreational" it's still time consuming and often young people would rather be devoting their time to something productive (like an ongoing service project that has real and tangible results like Habit for Humanity) than manufactured fun. Informal social gatherings are most fun when they develop naturally!

I think young adult groups work best when they do not try to create a whole new program but find ways to fit in as a small group with what is already going on in the larger community. So, instead of doing a whole new program, when there's a lunch the young adults agree to all attend and then maybe do something afterwards or if the church needs a group to do something (fix up the playground or head up a clothing drive or whatever) the "young adults" can be the group that does that thing. It's stressful to think about adding one more thing to a busy schedule especially when it feels imposed on you and not like something that's just happening as a result of relationships and a shared desire for community.

Leanne said...

I was going to say nearly the exact same thing as Renee... :-) It's best when a 20-somethings group evolves into something. Wouldn't it feel so much better to have something grow out of going to lunch after church than a "forced" Tuesday evening commitment? Rather than adding on something new to a small (but potentially growing!) group, it might make more sense to have something grow more organically. Then you won't feel obligated, but rather filled with joy that you get to be a part of an awesome group of people! (like your Bible study, which I LOVE reading about!)

Misha said...

JUST SAY NO! This is my opinion - you care way too much about what they will think of you and that is not the point of church at all. Fine, they want to set up a new group for those that may need help making friends and getting involved. You just don't happen to be one of those people. Aren't you already involved enough? You are more involve in your church than I am in ANY church and it just comes down to this - Us 20-somethings have very BUSY lives!!! Make time for your spirituality however YOU want to.

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