We opted to visit one of the “known quantity” churches I mentioned in my last post this past Sunday.
I nearly had a panic attack.
I’m an introvert to the core, and large-scale group settings increasingly give me a measure of anxiety, particularly when I am forced to interact and put on a happy face. It’s fine if I’m afforded some measure of anonymity, but dropping our kids off in childcare ensures I will have to interact with a number of well-meaning people who want to make small talk.
An introvert’s worst nightmare is basically being forced to have the same small talk conversations with multiple people we don’t know, one right after the other.
So right off the bat, this church was overwhelming for me. It was polished. The stage had lots of lights and attractive musicians singing in perfect pitch. Their dozen-or-so “campuses” were on the first Sunday of a special new-year initiative, and the preacher, who was on video (presumably so all the attendees would hear the same message, regardless of where they were) taught on this initiative.
There was a cafe. Literally a cafe, selling “Starbucks coffee,” one of the volunteers in the kids area told me.
Bobby and I put on our brave faces and walked into the packed auditorium after dropping off our kids, and we could not find a seat. The only empty seats were reserved.
So we went and ordered two coffees and sat in the cafe and talked.
It was disappointing in some ways, because we are absolutely interested in finding a church home. But this church, which is obviously so great for so many people, is not the one. Everyone we met was kind and welcoming, but it was so big that it was truly overwhelming for me.
I have some more thoughts on my personal issues with finding a church that I’ll try to share more about tomorrow, but they were definitely at the forefront this past Sunday.