Inside these stained glassed buildings are people. Normal, real people. Listening to women discuss church I have heard some mind-boggling statements. Recently, I posted a question on social media, “When you first enter a church, what do you think/feel?” I was looking for honest feedback, especially from those who are regular churchgoers. 


      “Often I walk in one of these buildings insecurely glancing around wondering if I belong.”

      “Will anyone talk to me today?”

      “Does my hair look okay?”

      “Look at that perfect little family and their matching kids’ outfits. Well, my kids do have on clean clothes…”

      If I’m honest, I wrestle with insecure feelings  on Sunday mornings too. Many times I find myself blinking forcefully and shaking my head before I enter the church building , reminding myself why I drove and parked there in the first place. Snapping out of it, I remember I came because I need to learn, study and worship. I need to laugh, cry and sing. I need to listen, talk and ponder. 

      Teach. Hug. Listen. Pray. Read. Sing. Hear. Understand. Speak. Thank. Hug. Kneel (or not). Lift hands (or not). Shout (or not). Exit and enter the new week with joy and energy to begin fresh anew. 

      If you live in the south and frequent a church, there are opportunities to go on mission trips year round. Stateside mission trips, overseas mission trips, trips with big groups for short weeks, and trips with small groups for long weeks. Sometimes you be trippin’ over the choices offered. 

      I’ve never gone on a mission trip. Ever. 

      I am a missionary, however. 

      Someone asked me one Saturday last month  while I was passing out popcorn where I felt called to serve. We were taking about the volunteer slots at the church league concessions. “I’m a preacher’s kid. I get it,” she told me. I said, “I’m called to be a missionary inside the baptist church… [pause for pensive, silent stare]. . . You think I’m kidding don’t you? I’m serious as all get out,” I told her. “Look. Stop. I’m for real. Inside these walls is my greatest mission field.”

      She looked in deep thought as she said thank you for her $0.75 popcorn purchase. 

      I’ve been in southern baptist churches since 9 months before I was born. Sometimes I get asked, “Why don’t you come to my church? Why don’t you just watch a service in your pajamas at home and rest? What do you mean you’re a ‘Christ follower’ not a baptist?”

      BECAUSE often times the mission is right in front of my face. If I’m not careful I can MISS the MISSION. If I’m alert, I can “mission” everywhere I go. Dollar General, church league basketball concessions, and especially First Baptist Local Church. There’s a huge need for me to listen, watch, observe and know when to speak and what to say. Often I mess up by talking when I should listen, or offending someone without knowing why. I say aloud, “Be careful! Don’t  MISS THE Mission right in front of you, Audrey.” 

      You never know when just being a cheerleader to one person right where THEY ARE, right in front of your face, might be the mission trip of a lifetime. No fundraising needed. 

      “Go {as you are going} ye therefore….make disciples.”      ~Matthew 28:18-20

      mis·sion (ˈmiSHən)– the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.

      synonyms: vocation, calling, goal, aim, quest, purpose, function, life’s work.                         

      her mission in life”

      After choosing the twelve disciples and modeling ministry before them, Jesus sent them out as apostles. He gave them a mission assignment:

      “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”                Matthew‬ ‭10:5-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

      LOOK AT HIS FIRST INSTRUCTION! “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

      This blew me away yesterday when teaching it to my fifth grade Bible classes. He sent them ON MISSION at home…to the house of Israel, the chosen. 

      While it’s important to go on mission trips- short term, long term, and full time. Not everyone is called to go. We are, however instructed to share and go, but not all of us to the same places. 

      I am encouraged that there are mission opportunities all around me. Read a few more responses that were collected to the question, “How do you feel or what do you think as you enter the church building?” 

      “Overwhelming anxiety. The need to be perfect. This is why I don’t go to church.”

      “I have always felt judged.”

      “It depends. At first I feel a bit overwhelmed and maybe a bit alone as soon as I walk in the door. Maybe feel a bit self conscious if I am having a yuck hair day or intimidated by my simple clothes but usually that goes away when I focus on loving others that I see. If it is a church that I am connected to the people I feel “familiarity and connection” overall I usually leave feeling encouraged and grounded especially if there is time to actually have real conversations and if the sermon makes sense to me.”

      “As a college student who still hasn’t found a home church, I honestly dread Sundays in a way. I keep trying to find a church , but often I feel, alone, uncomfortable, anxious, etc. I rarely have somebody come up and introduce themselves because most people only focus on finding their friends and people they know and talking to them. Even if I go up to an usher or greeter and say “hey, I’m new and have never been here before, could you show me to the college ministry? Or ask if they could show me where the sanctuary is, they often just point their finger in the “general direction” tell me where to take rights and lefts and I should be there. I hope I’ll eventually find a church I like but as of right now if it hard to find a church that doesn’t just talk to members and encourage the people they already know. I’m a Christian, but it really, truly bothers me that if non-christians walked in any of these churches, this is how they would be treated. If churches really tried to not be as clicky then I think that we would solve a major problem of people feeling like they are being judged and uncomfortableness in the church.”

      “Disappointment that church culture is not about relationships. It’s more about small talk than it is about cultivating, sustaining, and growing real relationships with other believers. I enter and I leave with a great sense of longing.”


      About murdaughaudrey5

      Audrey is a conference speaker, certified teacher and mother of four. She chronicles her life and years overcoming postpartum depression with humor and a realness seldom seen in the world today.
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