May 12, 2010

Sitting Alone (New Poll!)

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?
20%     Yes!
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!


  1. Before my kids came I made it a point to be a part of the choir in the small church we were serving-- and it was NOT because I have a pleasant singing voice (I don't). I sat up there so I had folks to sit and worship with AND no one could accuse me of 'playing favorites.' Apparently the previous pastor's wife had been perceived as having favorites. I liked being in the choir because I could see and be seen without any hassles. After my kids came it was harder, but about that time we were also moved. :)

  2. I love this blog!! Spouses sharing... learning...supporting each other... God is so good!

    Because I'm new to this blog, I'm going back and reading older posts! Really. I'm so thankful that I am in contact with others who know my walk...know where God has called my family.. and understand that the joy of ministry is often coupled with challenges.

    Thank you for sharing, being honest, and being willing to reach out to other spouses!


  3. My husband would make a point to make eye contact with me during the service! I liked to sit up front on the 2nd or 3rd pew... you know front and center! I usually had another church member or visitor to sit with... but I loved it when I got to sit with my husband... usually it was during a revival, or special service when he was NOT leading... we always held hands and realized it was a "special moment" for us!
    And at weddings... he would catch my attention and ALWAYS wink at me and give me a little smile during the ceremony! I loved that!

  4. Now that my kids are grown, it's hard to find a place where you "automatically" fit in. So I sing in the choir. It gives me a place to be with friends and I enjoy singing. But it also keeps me from having to sit alone.

  5. sit up front, alone--except when the kids are home for the weekend :) I love it when my husband and I can sit together, touch, and flirt!

  6. How interesting that others go thru the loneliness too. I thought I was the only one! I never thought to sing in the choir with a not very good voice...wish I had known that one a while back! Thank you for sharing!

  7. In each new appointment, I used to sit with older members. I am younger and I have found that I have always been well accepted in these groups. In most appointments, I would find an older woman, sitting by herself - most likely in the same place she sat with her husband for over 50 years. I know that they appreciated the company and so did I. They always became freinds - women of faith that I learned from and will always remember.

  8. I used to sit alone since the kids were in Sunday School. However,the kids don't really like SS and rather than fight each week, we've largely quit going. I personally haven't been in a worship service at the church in almost 3 years.