In last week's poll, we asked whether or not you have close friends in the church. While my own answer was fairly depressing, I was surprised and saddened to see how many ministry spouses (or pastors themselves, since this poll was not limited to spouses only) feel lonely and isolated.
Here were the results:
Do you have close friends in the church you serve?
25% Yes, in previous churches, but not currently.
20% No, our close friends have never been part of our churches.
35% No, and as a result we have few close friends.
That means that 80% do not currently get to enjoy the experience of worshiping, studying, and serving with their close friends. 55% have never had that experience in ministry, and 35% have few close friends period.
There are many possible reasons for this--the transiency of pastorates, the demographics of the church, the authority issues (either congregants being intimidated by the pastor's family or the church feeling the pastor is their employee)--who knows?
An issue that a couple people commented on just happens to be an issue that has bothered me too--the issue of sitting alone in church. I haven't thought about it too much since my daughter was born, but when I was a childless woman whose husband was--of course--sitting up on the platform, I used to long every week for someone to invite me to sit with their family. Or to come sit with me if I had already sat down alone. Neither ever happened. Occasionally I took the initiative to sit with someone else (often a visitor) but I was often alone because the members never noticed--or realized the loneliness of--sitting alone in church.
What about you?
Who do you sit with in worship each week? Where do you sit? How do you decide where to sit?
This poll is "mark all that apply," so check multiple boxes to describe your plan of action when you walk through those sanctuary doors!