The thing for me is I want to run away from my church because I’m so different from my church body. My church is mainly white and I’m not. I love the fact that the gospel is being taught, something so new for me. [Edited for context.]
Jed Brewer replied:
Hey my friend,
Thanks for your question.
As a part of my job, I’ve been to many, many churches of all kinds of denominations and demographic make-ups. And I’ve gotten candid comments from many, many church people all over the place.
And here’s what every one of them think: “I don’t belong here.”
Seriously. I’ve never met a person who thought, “You know what, this church is the perfect fit for me, and these people really want me – specifically – to be here on Sunday mornings.”
No, instead, everyone feels like the odd-man-out. Maybe it’s the secret sin they’re sure only they struggle with. Or their taste in music. Or the kind of job they have. Or a theological position they struggle with. Or their race. Or their country of origin Or their legal status. Or their sexuality. Or the kind of preaching they want. Or the burden they feel to serve or not.
But it’s pretty much always something.
And, you know what the funny thing is? You are *not* exactly like anyone else in your church. And not matter what church you go to, you never will be.
The truth is that church is made up of unique, individual people that are different from each other, and aren’t fully sure what to do with it.
The Bible recognized this, too.
“Just as a body has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not stop being part of the body…If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
(1 Cor 12:12-26 [various], NIV)
Now, the truly important question is: what do I do with my feelings of being out of place?
There is an amazing spiritual principle that often times, when we’re struggling, the way out is to give away the thing we want. (Jesus talked about this – see Matthew 16:25.)
So, in your case, you want to feel welcome. You want to feel like you belong. You want to feel like there’s a place for you that you fit in.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those desires. But the key thing towards getting peace on them is to turn around and do those things for someone else.
Find someone in your church who feels like an outcast, and welcome them. Give them a place to fit in and belong. Show them that they are wanted. Then, find the next outcast, and do the same.
As you do this, you will find two things – one, you’ve discovered your own place in the body, and, two, you really, truly do belong.
I believe in you. Don’t give up.