Attending a new church is hard. It just is – no matter the reason. It is especially hard if you are an extroverted introvert. What that means is that if I am by myself in a room full of people I do not know, I will talk to as many people as I can and start making new friends because what else am I going to do? But if I know one other person, I will only talk to them and not talk to new people. So going to a new church with my husband (who is an introverted introvert) meant we didn’t really talk to anyone. And since we started going to church in the summer, it also meant that house churches (or at least the ones we were looking at) weren’t meeting.
So after attending AAC for three Sundays my husband and I signed up for the retreat, and by “my husband and I” I mean I told him if he wanted this to be our church home, we had to go to events where we would meet people and really commit, and he agreed (which is a big deal. Remember the introverted introvert part? I’m not exaggerating that.)
I was nervous about going to this big event, but excited to meet new people. I mean coffee hour at churches is terrifying for me, and here we were, going to a weekend long retreat with a bunch of strangers. And you know what? We did meet many nice and awesome people from both services. It was so great to see the whole church together.
It was more than just a meet-and-greet church social. I have always struggled with being close with my family. I just never understood how I really fit in with them or why I was the way I am when they are the way they are. Then we had to do an exercise where we had to create a genogram of our family. A genogram is basically a super detailed family tree (this is an oversimplification. If you want more, see my husband. He took a class on them.) As I was filling out the genogram, I started noticing patterns and seeing my place in the family. It all started making sense. And I took my quiet time, in the calm of nature, to really pray about it. After the retreat, I started opening myself up to my family more, and I started feeling more a part of them.
This allowed me to open myself up more to my church family. We are part of an awesome house church (which I highly recommend) and volunteer with the church sound team (always looking for new members!)
In short, I would recommend the retreat to everyone. It was really a wonderful experience (and I hope to meet you there!)
Written By Erin Moughon-Smith