Typically, people attend church in order to experience God within a community of like-minded believers. Between getting involved in various ministries, sacrificial offerings, and inspiring sermons, a lot of church attendees are committed to the process. However, the pandemic put a screeching halt to church attendance for millions of people. As a result, many people dove into different alternatives. If you’re in a space where you’re looking for an alternative to the in-house worship experience, consider the following options.
When people typically walk into a church environment, they expect to see a significant number of people. Whether 100 people or 1,000 people are in attendance, they expect to be a number in the crowd. When you enter a small group session, it’s highly unlikely to see more than ten people in the room. Small groups provide a strong sense of intimacy and connection because you’re getting the blessing of community without feeling like a number in the crowd. This helps you to feel known, understood, and loved more.
Thanks to the convenience of the internet and digital spaces, many churches continue to host online services. You’ll get to enjoy the comfort of your bed or your home as you still get a detailed view of what’s happening within the four walls of your church. Plus, if you sleep late or have other responsibilities to take care of, you can easily go back and watch the replay of what was recorded of church online.
Community Service Ministry
To follow the example of Christ involves becoming His hands and feet to others. This means serving each other. This is one of the reasons why so many churches have community service ministries and soup kitchens. Instead of attending a church, visit a local soup kitchen to serve others. Look for organizations that deliver food to the elderly. Purchase toys for children in lower-income households during the holiday season. It’s much better to give than to receive. Send care packages to college students who are away for the holidays. Prepare gift baskets for widows or people who are typically alone for the holidays. There are so many dynamic ways to serve and “be the church” for others to experience.
Unfortunately, many people look for God within the confines of a church when they can find God within personal study time. Pull out a Bible and a journal. Read a chapter of Proverbs, and write down your own reflections. Spend time in prayer and gratitude. Keep a prayer journal or a gratitude journal. In the Bible, God reveals that if believers seek Him with all of their hearts, they will find Him. This experience is deeper and more meaningful than anything found in the pews of a church. The corporate church experience is meant to inspire, support, and enhance what’s already happening in private study.
In the book of 1st Timothy, Paul encourages believers to be the church. The church isn’t solely a building. Whether you choose to serve others, quietly read and journal your observations from the scripture or watch church online, there are plenty of ways to experience God that don’t involve walking into a physical building.