Recently, I received an email from an old friend. I once worked with him. He and his wife had some relationship problems, and they ended up getting a divorce. We’ve emailed back a forth a few times, but it was both encouraging and discouraging to get this email from him:
I’m married now and we are expecting. We are very excited about everything that has been going on lately. I even had an interview for a promotion today so we are probably moving up north even farther. Like I said we are very excited about everything that has been going on.
We have been really trying to reach out for Christian fellowship and it has not been easy. That is actually the “advice” that I was hoping to get from you. My wife and I have both been really wanting to be around other Christians who challenge and help us grow and think about our beliefs and, well, the kind of environment I used to have with you guys at work. We don’t really know how to approach this though and we have gone with the most obvious and typical approach of finding a “local church” and doing all that but it is very unsatisfying to both of us for all the obvious reasons: sermons are weak at best heretical at worst, people are fake at best and judgmental at worst (many of them know about my divorce), and the environment is awful for fellowship and extremely conducive to over-emotionalistic unimportant ego-soothing nonsense. You know, the common problems with this kind of environment. So I don’t know what to do. I have been reading books and getting back into my Greek. I have been doing everything possible to be at least intellectually stimulated but its not really doing it for me or my family for that matter. Have you got any advice on what we could do to find other believers who can challenge us and help us and who we can share and grow with. We want Christian community and have realized very clearly that it is a difficult thing to find.
What advice did I give my friend? The same advice that I usually give to people who email me:
Seriously, there is no easy answer. First, be patient and pray. Second, look for God to work through the relationships that you already have. Start by inviting people to your place or out to dinner, and see what happens.
Finally, I’ve started adding another piece of advice. I encouraged him to check out SimpleChurch.com. This is a social networking site for people who are interested in more simple expressions of the church.
What advice would you give to my friend?