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I Don’t Feel Welcome

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I don’t feel welcome at my church. The people are stuck up, and I don’t like stuck-up people. I know that I should talk to my pastor about this, but I don’t know what to say.


Steve Answers:

It’s absolutely horrible not to feel welcome at your own church! I know that churches often emphasize the need and desire to be friendly, but that doesn’t always make them friendly.

When you were a kid I worked on a study of Adventist churches and found that most teens didn’t feel as though their churches were "warm and accepting." It’s a big problem!

It seems there could be several reasons the people at your church aren’t friendly.

1. They simply aren’t friendly.

2. They’re hurting, and they need somebody to be friendly to them.

3. They’re friendly but only to certain people.

4. They don’t know what to say to you.

5. They’re intimidated by you. (Surprisingly, many adults are intimidated by teens.)

You could probably come up with other reasons. I’m just pointing out things I’ve noticed and reasons people have shared with me. Now, what can you do about it?

1. Initiate conversations with others in your church. According to Proverbs 18:24: "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly" (KJV).

2. Take this Insight article to your pastor and ask if he thinks unfriendliness is a problem in your church.

3. Sit by someone in your church who seems stuck up, then pray for something to talk about with them. Don’t get up without saying something to them, even if you just ask to borrow their bulletin for a moment.

4. Act as if you’re taking a survey. Ask members to rate your church’s friendliness on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). Then ask them why they rate it that way.

5. Hold up a large sign that reads "I need somebody to talk to me." Then time how long it takes for somebody to respond.

6. Announce in your church bulletin that there’s a mystery person in your congregation who has a special secret, but people have to ask around to find out who the mystery person is–you. Your secret? You haven’t found people to be friendly in your church.

7. Ask the pastor if you can do the scripture reading some Sabbath. When you get up front, tell people you’re nervous and ask them to tell you how you did.

8. Ask the pastor if you can be a "greeter"–one of those people who hands out bulletins and welcomes people to church. It’ll force you to talk to other people. (Even stuck-up people want a church bulletin.)

9. Help in one of the children’s Sabbath school divisions at your church. Children are often more outgoing than adults.

10. Here are a couple lines you could use on the people in your church who seem stuck up: How long have you been attending this church? How did you become an Adventist?

I can’t think of anyone who likes stuck-up people. So get unstuck yourself, and maybe some of the others won’t be stuck up anymore either. 



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