When You Don’t Fit in At Church

Do you feel like a stranger in the very places that are meant to provide safe havens of familiarity, belonging, and friendship?

A few weeks ago a somewhat transient-looking man stood up in the middle of the worship service I attend. My attention wandered as he told a lengthy, meandering story (I’m not clear on the details, but I think it had something to do with evil land developers, a member of congress, and a crusade to save a small paper mill on the East Coast…). But then he said something that woke me up:

“I’m not a member of this church, but I am a member of God’s family.”

In those few words, he described the core longing we’ve all felt: We yearn to belong.

Fitting-In vs. Belonging

We’re born with an inextinguishable need to belong. When you belong, you can freely show up as your authentic self, imperfections included. In communities and relationships where you belong, you feel a deep sense that you’re not only acceptable, but that you’re cherished. When you belong, others stand ready to embrace, love, learn from, and enjoy you—not only for the ways that you’re similar, but also for your otherness.

Belonging is incredibly different from “fitting in.” Where belonging encourages authenticity, space, and freedom, fitting in implies having to conceal or constrain the expression of who you really are or how you truly feel about and see the world. Referencing this wisdom from a 12 year old, Brené Brown sums up the difference between belonging and fitting: “If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, it’s fitting in.”

We can all get caught in the trap of trying to fit in when what we really long for is belonging. Trying to fit in is a desperate, losing game of seeking approval by forcing yourself into the roles, attitudes, and appearances thrust upon you by others’ expectations and judgements. Even if you manage to hammer and contort yourself into those awkward shapes, it comes at a terrible costthe beautiful, unique contours of your soul were never meant to fit into a tiny box. As an unrepeatable child of the Divine with eternal possibilities, your soul needs a wide expanse where it can unfold, change, and grow.

Belonging Matters More in Some Places Than Others

We don’t need to belong everywhere. When you can’t find a sense of belonging in communities or relationships that don’t matter much to you, leaving (or just not joining) is an obvious and easy choice.

But in places or relationships that do matter, belonging is indispensable. Feeling like an outsider in your own church, marriage, family, or any community or relationship that you cherish isn’t just ironic; it’s devastating. We rightfully look to those places for connection, meaning, and identity. But when authentic belonging remains perpetually out of reach in a relationship or a community that you value, you’re left with pretty painful options: leaving or pretending.

A Raft of Divine Love

Most of us have felt the painful ache of not belonging. Notwithstanding being an active member of my church, I’ve often felt the loneliness of being a foreigner there. Although I’ve had some very encouraging experiences recently, I don’t know if I’ll always belong there, that there will always be a place in the church for my authentic self. I hope there will.

Whatever happens, I can take heart in what that man reminded me of during church several weeks ago:

 I’ll always belong to God.

Knowing that I truly belong to God means I have a place within the Divine plan. If God loves me so deeply, and if I truly am His (and Her) child, then whatever others think of me doesn’t matter so much, even if it hurts. If I belong to God, then His love provides a shelter of acceptance from the storms of judgement from  anyone who isn’t God—including myself. Knowing that I belong to God creates a raft of self-acceptance and Divine love that can carry me to wherever I need to go.

Some people might fear that this approach encourages laziness, promotes selfishness or hedonism, and generally points people toward hell. I say that’s nonsense.

I can only tell you what’s really happening in my heart as I experience God’s love and my belonging to Him. I feel encouraged to grow personally, and I’m finding more hope to work through the painful difficulties in my relationship with the church. Accepting my belonging with God guards me against despair, and promotes feelings of patience toward others, the church, and with myself. Feeling God’s delight in me fills me with hope and love, and invites me to reach out in compassion. Rooting myself in my identity as God’s creation reminds me that all of us are connected: we all share the heritage of the daughters and sons of God.

You belong to the Divine too.

You are a member of God’s family. No one can ever, ever take that identity and belonging away from you. It’s inborn.

You are so intimately known. God hasn’t missed a single moment of your life, and He lovingly watches over you still. You are so deeply loved. You are not a mystery to Him, even if you are a mystery at times to yourself. He is no stranger to how it feels to be left-out and alone. He’s experienced those things too. And compassion is His primary response to all those things that make you feel like an outsider—mistakes, sins, differences, quirks, whatever. He just loves you, and wants to create a raft of divine love, belonging, and acceptance that will carry you into the promise of your own divine potential.

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179 thoughts on “When You Don’t Fit in At Church

  1. This is the best article that I have searched for. I have been feeling this for awhile now and am actually starting to pray that God will lead me to a church that I can have good connections with. Thankful that I belong to God and that’s all that matters, but it’s so important to have good connections at church to have at least a few to be friends with. I go to church by myself, because my husband doesn’t go with me (yet). It’s so lonely to go into church and barely talk to anyone and when it’s over it’s the same way. I fully enjoy being in Gods presence most of all, but I leave most the time feeling so out of place.

  2. I just realised after reading many comments that we’re making it all about us & our feelings of belonging, & that’s not what attending a biblical church is about. Everyone wants to belong & feel loved, but we need to remind ourselves that we are going to church to worship God & to hear His Word! (Hopefully, the elders are preaching the truth!) We’re going to church to praise God for sending Jesus our Saviour who took our place in dying for us so we can be forgiven & spend eternity in the presence of God, praising Him forever! We all need to take the focus off ourselves & be obedient to God’s word by gathering with other believers. How others behave towards you is their issue, not yours. And you’re not going to be “friends” with everyone at church, & that’s okay. My husband & I have just a few friends at our small church. There isn’t a “perfect” church, because we’re all sinners & are imperfect. Let’s keep attending church & know we are truly loved by God & that’s what matters!

    1. That is so religious and repulsive. Church attendance is a lot about connecting with those who share your faith. People are not always comfortable at church because others are judging them, assessing their value – so in response, they don’t reach out.

    2. There it is! The Church Judge! This is why people are uncomfortable at church; people like with no compassion and give some icky religious advice, that you yourself don’t heed.

  3. Here’s what I don’t understand! It’s too bad that click groups are within the church. I have a disabled son who is blind since birth and no one from the church seems interested in him. He is all alone and is a born-again Christian; shameful! Last year I was sick, and no one visited me while in the hospital and the small bible study group is more interested in their affairs. I have been a Christian for 45 years and must admit that I have done the same things to many. Call it human nature, but it’s sin! We’re not to forsake going to church in the book of Hebrew. The church should be the one place where there is no division. If you have a problem with someone your supposed to talk to them first. There is no perfect church period! There needs to be a focus and many messages on unity, examination of our own lives and above all ending clicks within the church, but the problem is some within the church don’t even realize there is a problem. It really starts at the pulpit on being a truthful Christian to ourselves. Then there’s the issue s of rich and poor, position, educated, 2.5 kids and a well-groomed family and so forth how your perceived and accepted! Sitting home with hurt feelings because the church is not accepting you been there and done that. You’re only hurting yourself. The last thing why are there so much homeless people in this country? Where is the church? I guess those people would not fit in. I was hungry and you didn’t feed me thirty and I needed clothes. We need back to the bible hard preaching which is hard to find and people that actually live it! I am speaking for myself here. But church is not entertainment but preaching to edify the saint’s, very stirring preaching is what’s needed. When you leave the church feeling good about yourself there is something wrong! Get back to the bible and preach hard, real hard on all these issues above and you will have fellowship. No one should feel lonely going to church. I have come to realize that If I am doing these things as above then I am not the issue! But praying, reading my bible, reaching out to others. Church should a place where the educated doctor and the plumber janitor all join in sadly it isn’t.

  4. This really helped me to see I belong to God’s family whether I am accepted by others at church.

  5. Paul,
    Thank you for this. I have been part of a bible group for two years now, both a great leader and teacher, Father Richard. (Anglican,spirit filled)
    My husband, who made a great effort, to come to the church service with me; it was honouring those that were in the armed forces past and present. On arrival, we were greeted at the door, by the leader of our Bible Study Group Father Richard whom we thought at the time, he, Richard and his wife were the only two people we were meeting but it turned out that some of our Bible Study Group and others from the Baptist Church were also at the church event, (not held at the same Baptist Church) At a church Father Richard, his wife and myself go to weekly. Follwoing the service my husband (usually an isolater) and I sat at a table, trying to reserve it for the group of about 15 people. But some other people we didnt know came and sat at the same table;shortly after they left. My husband and I stayed at the same table. However, the main group, sat at a separate table, with the excption of one person from the main group, who came and talked to my husband. The main group didn’t invite us to join them, I thought about joining the two tables together so that my husband and I could join the main group as they had added surrounding chairs and stools to accommodate more people and I had to consider the disturbance that I would have caused. Eventually we (3) pushed in to join the main group. I felt rejected, sitting at the next table with my husband, a friend from the other group came to talk to my husband (very thoughtful of him). Eventually, we decided to squeeze into them main group. The pastors wife, kindly considered my husband asking one of the men to sit next to my husband they conversed for a short period and them people started leaving. Quoting your editorial, myy point is that I dont won’t to just fit, I wanted to belong. Today I am meeting with Father Richard to explain how I felt. Inclusion is important and so is belonging. Thank you for your article it was of great value, I to belong not to fit int.

  6. My husband just retired from a Baptist church. He is 66 years old. We are having trouble finding a church to attend because once my husband tells them he is a retired Pastor, the Pastor of that church is very uncomfortable. we had to leave one church already. The church was uncomfortable allowing my husband to teach a class. How do retired Pastors find a church where we can be filled with God’s word and be a part of a church family. How do we make the transition? Do we not let anyone know that he was a Pastor just so we can become a part of a church? There needs to be someone out there that can help answer these questions. It’s hard on the Pastor’s wives as well. I wish there was a support group somewhere where Pastors wives could meet and lift each other up. I’m sorry for my frustration. We just want to go to church like everyone else and not be judged. Please keep us in your prayers.

    1. Hi Victoria – I am a pastors wife and my husband is still actively pastoring. I actually have been trying to get pastors wives together for that very purpose of building connections for the purpose of offering support for the unique experience of being a pastors wife and the isolating aspects of the position. I connect with the pain you are expressing and I will be praying for you and your husband. Lately I personally have longed to just be a part of a small group of people who can be real with each other. No wonder Jesus limited his group to 12. How do you really go deep and authentic and embracing/belonging to a large group of people? The large group doesn’t get very far. Need a small group of “12” who can deeply care, encourage, worship, learn, and love together. Maybe you can find “12”.

    2. I am unsure what area you both are in but Epic Church in Baltimore County MD would love to have y’all!

  7. I really needed to read this message. I feel the same way about my church. I don’t know what to do. I would like to leave but my family wants to stay.

  8. SOrRY But my kEYboard iS busted…thus tHE WeIRD leTTerS. yOU DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH i WISH i HAD A PLACE where i belonged… but when every church I enter feels the same way as if i’M ENTERINg a wal-maRt, and my interActions with all The membERs fEeLs LiKE I’M TaLkING tO A mANakin or somE DRoNE empLoyee CallING ME a “dear valuEd CuSTOMER”, WHAt AM i to CONCLUDE? WoUlD gOd ALlOw me To eNTer one of HiS SUPPOSED SANcTuaRies, ANd to mEEt a LaRGE gaTHERInG Of his SupPoSed people, ONLY TO Have me WAlk OuT of A SUppoSedLy SPIRit-filled ASsEMBLY FEELING LIKE i just ate a McDonald’s cheeseburGer ANd FOr SOME Reason I’M mORe stARViNG THAN bEfORE?

    I dON’t think HE woULd allow THAT TO HAPPEN.

    Now occasionally, I do meet people who are Spirit-filled, And I sense it. I sense that WE ARE BROTHERS/siSTERS AND THAT THE PERSON, EVEN THOUGH AN OUTWARD StraNger, wOULd fiGHt and die for me if he had to. tHESE PEOPLE DON’T TEND TO STAY in my LiFe, tHough. IT’s kiND of LikE THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT peoPLE YOU MEET BUT YOU ONLY MEET them ONce, AND THEN YOU’RE BACK On That lonely road again, surrounded by darkness and animated vessels bereft OF that Life which gives that light to the eyes.

    Sometimes, you wonder if it really happened. Did I really meet another person in Christ, or am I just projecting MY hopEs ONTO cERtaIn PeopLE?

    bEcause for 99.9 percent of the time or more… there’s just no one there, even WheN you’re surrounded by PEOPLE… even if yOU’re sitting at a full table with supposed friends and famIly… YOU JUST FEEL LIKE YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY DESErt and dessicAteD ShRUbs aS AQUAintanCEs… ANd the thing Is, these people yoU’vE Called friendS And FaMilY foR SO lONg… yoU nOW dISCOVeR that WHever TheSE PEOPLE ARE, They are reveALED AS SOME foreiGn, AlIEN COUNTERFEIT THINg WHIch you NEVER diD, NEVER COULD, AND NEVER WILL KNOW.

    sO WHY WOULD i waNT tO SEek oUT A BuILDinG WHere I can OnLY have fellowship with dessicated shrubs AND PRACTICE wal-mart religiON?

    hEck, I’d rather go to waL-Mart At least there’s no pRetEnsE tHere.

    It’s so much so that i DID AT SEVERAL POINTS CONSIDER JOINING THE cATHOLIC cHURCH. at LEAST tHErE, THErE’S SOmE real histOrY, rEAl Art, ReAl ELEgAncE, REal rEVErencE… OR is tHeRe?

    thAT MAY well be likE COmPArinG aN OSCAR-WInniNG legendary filM To A B-MovIe Slasher FIlM. aT the END OF THE DAY, BOTH THE WeLL-coNSTructED movIE aNd THE POORlY construCTED moViE… Are just frivolous trivialities. THey’rE entertaiNMEnt.


    yet WE’Re pRessured into being polite and thinking the best of eVeRYoNE. It’S ONLY LATER WHEn we’re ALONE aT nIgHT that we realize that all of thAt POLITE Nicey NiCE that churchIANS USEd TO IngRatiaTe thEMSelves tO YOU… is absolutely meaningless. YoU ReAliZe that these ARE ALL JUST NON-ENtitieS pLAYINg a GENERIC ROLE IN A GianT global hive-mind.

    whoever does not confess Jesus Christ is of that anti-Christ spirit… until it just becomes all to easy to do so. Until it becomes considered normal and socially beneficial to do so. until it’s just too easy for supposed christians to construct their own world-wide echo-chamber in which the only voices allowed to resonate are of those who supposedly confess Christ.

    YET You LoOK AT THESE people… you look at their lives…. yOU lOok at just how generically similar they are to people of other generic philosophies, despite some cultural and behavioral modifications… and you go… “Why am I listening to these people” and their “seven-step plan to kill the sin of lust…” or whatever scripturally iffy advice they may offer? Why? They can’t EVEn decide iF we’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOiNg GoD’s WILl oR OUR Own. WeLL, BEFOre we’re saved, we can do nothing on our own. We need Christ to come in and give Us the SpirIT SO THAT, BY THE sPIRIT, WE MAY PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE FLESH… AND YET…. NOW ALL THE SUDDEN, YOU’RE SAVED, AND OUT COMES TO do And don’t lists, AND THE THREATS OF “Well, yOu might NOT BE SAVEd IF yoU’re stil DOING A, B, And c, and nOt doiNg 1, 2, And 3…”

    “you JUst NEed to….”


    i’ve said this from the very beginning… from the very moment I first accepted the call from God and confessed Christ as savior… that I am not now nor ever was nor ever will be what we call a “christian”. i do noT caRe For chriSTIAn cultUre. I dO NOT CAre TO SURROuND mysElf WITH oTheR chrisTians… beCauSE THE VERY iDEA OF BEinG “ChRIStIAN” IS NOW SOME GENERic stock imaGE… anD i do NOt toLERATE THat, AND i REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS SO VAPID. mATTER OF FACT, i KNOW HE ISN’T. HE CALLED ME, AND IN DOING SO, HE KNEW THAT I KNEW FULL WELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMETHING GENUINE AND INSPIRED (FOR EXAMPLE, THE BAND nIRVANA) VERSUS SOMETHING GENERIC AND CONTRIVED (FOR EXAMPLE, THE BAND sILVERCHAIR… A DECENT NIRVana knoCk-off… buT STill A KnOc-off.) yEs, THeRE Is A DIFfErencE, And yes… It Is an ObjEcTive aNd palpabLE facT, for tHoSe WITH eyeS AND EArs aND AlL THAT.

    sO WhaT i rEALlY WANT To say iS THat I DoN’T NOt WANT TO GO TO CHUrch. RatHER, i don’T wANt TO GO tO WaL-mart. FInD ME A cHurch tHat IsN’t WAl-mart, FiNd ME A BrOther in Christ who is not just another “state actor” NPC-type, and i’LL fInd A BrIDGE iN brooklyn to sell you.

    “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

    1. Wow. Aren’t we long winded. I would suggest seeing a counselor. You have way more going on than just a snobby church.

  9. What a beautiful post!!!! kudos to your honest and transparent post. I have felt guilty for feeling this way and was elated and grateful to read your post. Being in leadership can be a fulfilling task, yet very lonely. I take the approach, that I am no one and can do nothing without Christ. I don’t want to ever think of myself more than I ought to. Yet in truth being an elder in leadership requires being on another level and having accountability that others often don’t understand.
    It is Jesus and His unwavering acceptance of all that I am and all that I am not that gives me the sense of belonging and the fulfilling relationship that I need to be emensly happy.

    Thank you for sharing !!

  10. I have read with real interest these comments as I feel very left out in our small Episcopal church. I have only had contact with two church people since the lockdown but the Rector has phoned about four times. The last time she phoned and asked quite abruptly if we were going back. It was as if she was fed up having to bother with us and we should just go back. I have been feeling like this for years. I have mentioned it and was told that it was ridiculous that I should feel like that but our small church has become very cliquey. I should add that my husband and I have been going to this church for over 40 years. We both are over 80. We both hold offices in the church and have done for many years, so we do our bit and enjoy it. We haven’t been back at church since it opened and have really enjoyed the Diocesan Service broadcast every Sunday. I do feel part of it as we are made to feel welcome by whichever Bishop is taking it and we can’t praise the people taking part, enough. Our Sundays have been so lovely and peaceful since we have stopped going. I often was so upset when I came back from church that my Sunday was ruined. My husband is made of sterner stuff so it didn’t bother him so much. I really think that the problem is that I am getting old and that there are younger folk taking over everything. There is one person who always is so rude and she looks down on us, but there is always one! No matter what we do, it is never put in the magazine and it is ignored. We don’t want praise at all but it is awful being made to feel that nothing we do matters but everyone else gets thanked and praised, which they deserve. What can I do? Do we go back to church and hope that things have changed? I just don’t know what to do? Please help.

  11. I’ve felt this way for a long time. My denomination has taken some harsh political stands that I don’t agree with. It’s difficult to find kindred souls

  12. Thank you for this article. God’s timing could not be more perfect as I have just recently felt this for a few weeks at the current parish I am currently helping out. Your reminder to us about how we all belong to God even though His very followers and the very people tasked with spreading His word may sometimes not demonstrate that, really gives me strength to carry on. I do not know if you are familiar with St. John of the Cross who had experienced what he called “the dark night of the soul” which I think has great relevance to what you, I, and many other commenters are lamenting about. Another person that comes to mind is St. Teresa of Kolkata. Reading up about both of their lives and the suffering they went through feeling distant even at times from God Himself gave me the strength to persevere when I feel like I do not fit into the very body of His church. Though I do not fully understand this, I think that these types of sufferings have redemptive value: the Lord uses them to transform us to be holier by allowing us to partake in the very suffering He experienced in Calvary and these experiences when shared with others, can give encouragement to others who are going through the same thing (which is what I felt when reading your article). I pray for all of us here who feels the same that the Lord may more closely unite Himself to us and make His presence more strongly felt, and that He may help us to see Him in places we least expect (in people around us).

  13. What an excellent and timely article.

    I came here while searching for reasons as to why I cannot find a church where I am welcome or where I can fit in. I am ‘not’ blaming anyone, any church nor myself. It just is what it is.

    The two comments in the article and following posts were so true.

    “If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, it’s fitting in.”

    “I’m not a member of this church, but I am a member of God’s family.”

    I hope that God will forgive that I, and some other people, with the best will in the world, just do not ‘fit in” with established religion. And that He welcomes us just as we are.

  14. I don’t know which is more heartbreaking, the fact that so many people don’t feel like they belong, weren’t loved for who they were or the fact that this post resonated with me so greatly I was in tears. Many would say that it’s an orphan spirit that keeps us from feeling like we belong and yet I know I am no orphan and my Love for my heavenly father is so great and yet inside the institution many recognize as church, I’ve found a serious lacking of compassion, love or even kindness to one another and it’s absolutely heartbreaking as people fight and compete for positions and platforms. I find I just want to love on people try to help them through tough times and many times it’s exhausting but if one gets free, just one it’s all worth while. I think I would rather do that then ever go back to church – Because I don’t want to fit in, I want to stand out to Him – no one else – just Him because He’s my entire life, my whole being – to live and love like Jesus is my hearts desire and I don’t seem much of that in our churches today. Thank you so much for this post – I was looking for something else and happened upon this – but we know things aren’t coincidence – because He already knew just what I needed. Thank you for writing this so many of us no longer feel as if we are misfits in this world. I often think that must be how Jesus felt – like people just didn’t get it, or get him.

  15. Shepherd’s don’t fit in with other shepherds or the flock. We are meant to be loners if we cannot find a flock to lead and once we admit to ourself that we are that role then there’s the direction we need to be in. Im not a pastor, preacher, or leader in a church, but I recognize where our Father Wants me to be. I love God, Jesus., and the Holy Spirit, but im scared to be a pastor and go to seminary. I feel God is Telling me that in seminary I’ll be taught to see and worship a certain way but not all ways. In legal lawful education system professionals, in order to make a living we must be taught to do things a certain way. Yet, I dream of a church where there offs a place to preach to those unsaved, and there is a place to fellowship with family who are not my born family, but my family in Christ. And every Sunday at any church even around the world, it is the same, the message is to the unsaved, the sales pitch is the the same. I feel out of place as a member and I know the reason is because my place is as a leader, a pastor. I’ve been asked, I joke and say I’ve been accused of being a pastor once again. But I feel if you are out of place add a member and you were once, or still are a pastor, the reason of feeling out of place is that you are trying to fool the role of member and not leader.

  16. I have left a lot of churches b/c I never felt that I belong – the cliques just always let you know you’re not one of them. I tried a new church 3 months ago & attend a wonen’s Bible study – same results. In my prayer time, I’ve said “God if this church doesn’t work out, I’m done with churches – I’ll watch Sunday service on tv”. I’m a 68 yr old single female and want Christian friends. Any advise is welcomed

    1. I pray you find a good local church to be a part of. I can definitely relate to the feeling of not belonging, being on the outside looking in. Believe me when I say that. For several years, I allowed my bitterness, church hurt, and the feeling of not fitting in to get the best of me and left. During those few years, I turned to online sermons, thinking that it was sufficient. I did not realize at the time that this hurted God and His people. He desires that the Body of Christ is unified, and one of the ways in which we can do that is by being a member of a local church. The local church is a place where we can be fed the meat of God`s Word, use our gifts to edify the Body of Christ, and yes, fellowship. I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. These verses show you that you do indeed matter to both God and his people. Your gifts and your presence is needed to further His kingdom. You might be the arm in God`s family. The arm is a useful body part and other parts of the body (i.e. the leg, eye, neck) cannot do what it does. As for the past hurt you`ve experienced, please don`t let that stop you from fellowshipping with God`s people. I know it`s hard and I struggle hard with fitting in too, but church fellowship is very necessary. We have to remember that people within the church, Christians, are flawed beings living in their sinful flesh. Even as we strive to be more like Christ, who is loves and recognizes the overlooked and outcast, His people will sometimes fail to live up to this goal. We have to give them grace and extend the same love and mercy His has given to us and give it to them. So Ronnie, hang in there! Be the person you want others to be – welcoming, loving, compassionate. And when it is not reciprocated, remember that your identity is found in Christ (Galatians 2:20) and that you can use those moments to be the bigger person and show Christ`s love to them anyway. God bless!
      Here are the many verses in the Bible that stress the importance and benefit of fellowship:

    2. I feel the same way. I am loved by some and maybe by some, I don’t feel loved but I do know this, I have given and given and not expected in return and when I don’t even get a thank you or hey, how are you today and see other clicking together in their own group, I want to quit. I have about had it with this church, same people sit in the same sopts or park in the same row now that we have covid and can’t go in, oh , I may be going on but I do not know what’s happening and I’ve even noticed on fb, some church members click together on fb even, including my Pastor! I think I’m done, or I am being too sensitive but I feel used..

      1. Jeannie, I feel your frustrations! I have been feeling like I don’t belong for months now. The pastor won’t even accept my Facebook friend request. The pastor is Friends with everyone else. My husband is loved by the church and ever since we got married, I’ve been treated like I am some strange woman. It hurts deeply. My husband says this is our church. I don’t feel that way. All these groups hang out in cliques and the lack of support makes me dread going to church every Sunday. When I first joined, I knew that was my church almost 5 years ago. I hope you find peace and acceptance.

  17. I am a newer member of Gods family. I’ve only been attending church for about a year. In the beginning I thought my church was amazing. Everyone seemed so friendly and welcoming. I’m not one that likes to say much to people I don’t know, I’m afraid of rejection etc.. I have yet to make any real friends in my church even tho I’ve been trying. The Pastor told me I need to “branch out”, attend the ladies events and such, but I just don’t feel I belong. I used to really love my church and all the pastor and his wife did to help me find Jesus, get baptized and become a church member. However, lately I don’t feel anyone from the church legit cares. When I have reached out with questions and concerns, I’m ignored. I’ve had a couple very tough times with dear friends getting seriously hurt, my dad on hospice, and being injured myself. No one from my church was there when I called or texted or whatever. I feel like the black sheep and don’t know what to do. I’ve thought about leaving the church and just worshipping God alone. I’ve thought about looking for another church. It was hard enough for me to let the pastor and a couple others get to know the real me, I can’t imagine trying to go elsewhere, but I don’t like the feeling of being ignored, outcasted and left to fend for myself. I did t think that was what church families did.

    1. I can relate to your comments. I grew up in church all my life. After I got married and moved away, I haven’t found one church where I fit! But tonight I had a breakthrough with the Lord. I asked Him to help me know if I am the problem and if I’m making too big of a deal. I believe he will show me if it’s me or them. I truly want fellowship with God’s people. I’ve been in this church for 3 years and everyone has my number. I’ve texted/called people but they never initiate any conversation with me at church or outside of church. I hate to leave because the pastor preaches the word. But somehow I can’t seem to get past the feeling of being uncomfortable every time I walk through the door. Prayers for everyone on here having a bad experience with church.

  18. I found myself attending church less and less because despite the fact that I had some friends there, I felt limited in prayer because of time constraints in prayer groups and special church sessions where we were told to get into smaller groups to pray. 5 to 10 minutes to pray over an issue yet there’s 2 to 4 of us in a group? Talk about “Hey let’s speed this up so we can move to the next topic!” I always found that as a huge turn off. Not to mention the wishy washy sermons where you’re not really told to do anything except to love Jesus and to exercise grace. That is all. No teaching on any levels of training for the ministry and what dangers to look out for that lurk outside of the church. It’s like the pastor is afraid of offending somebody or something like that.

    Then came the one time where I asked a seemingly kind and mature (so I thought) Christian woman, as I’m a mature Christian man in age, if she would like to get better acquainted for friendship. I was sweet, kind and gentle to this little sister in the Lord. Yet the unexpected happened. She didn’t like my interest in her. She didn’t like it all. In fact this little sister of Christ began coldly avoided me. If that wasn’t enough, this woman went as far as to tell her church girlfriends about this. As a result, the story spread all around the church and I ended up getting cold evil eyes from a noticeable amount of people. It really hit me hard. Week after week this went on and on and on and on as this woman didn’t want to even look at me. What was worse is that this sister didn’t want to make things right and every time I tried to talk to her she got more and more angry. Obviously she has some internal issues. I eventually began to grow tired of this undeserved amount of harsh rejection. It was just seriously too much. So after thinking about her actions against me, the actions of some others and some of these other matters, I eventually began to just stopped coming. This way I am spending time away and alone in prayer if it’s a good idea for me to belong in such a place where I feel hurt, misread, disappointed and marginalized.

    Now of course no church is perfect and we always don’t get along but this was ridiculous with some of the things that happened at this particular place. It’s a huge church with many programs with care to those in wheel chairs and of varying other disabilities. This church isn’t a bad church as it’s better than many others I encountered. Yet some of the stinging imperfections may have stung me a little to far deep.

  19. We are retired pastors who have been trying to fit into a church, it is very difficult, most church people do not invite newcomers to their homes or seem to desire to get to know them. We have planted a church in the past where we trained people in the love of God and that every person who comes through the door is valuable to God and to his body. We are praying about starting another church like this one, because once you experience this kind of family love, you can’t do without it. Praying there will be an outpouring of God’s love on HIS church, where everyone can fit in, even as we fit in with him. Yes, we are His children! We belong to Him.

  20. Thank you so much for this article. I needed to hear these things. I love the Church I am at, and I’ve grown in the past year and a half I’ve been there, But at times, I often have myself thinking if leaving my previous church was even worth it. I know that God has plans for our lives, but I’ve been struggling with belonging for such a long time just in general. The community in some ways is exclusive, but I guess with Church, you can’t be friends with everyone. You can be kind and loving and gather Corporately in worship, But I need prayer for Community so much because I long to do life with people. Fall is approaching and I was convicted and challenged to stay and plant roots at my Church, so I just pray that I can feel like I’m part of the community in the Church. I recently started serving too and getting uncomfortable as well. Thank you for the article.

  21. I’m attending a church that to be honest I really don’t want to be there. I love the Lord and want so desperately to please and obey Him. I have tried so hard to look for friends at church but most people are cliquey and I REALLY do not belong. Every week the thought of attending this church is an absolute chore. I must sound horrible and I REALLY don’t mean to be. I’m being honest. It’s gotten to the point I sit out in the foyer and cry and read my bible. Anyone else feel like this?

    1. I can relate. But at times, God wants to check our hearts as well. Finding Belonging in the Church is so hard. I would pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit where he wants you to be. Sometimes we’re meant to stay, other times we’re meant to leave so we can use our gifts elsewhere.

    2. I completely understand what you mean. Been there. Cried my eyes out. Now taking a break from church. You are not alone. I pray that God will shed light upon your path and guide you in the way you should go.

    3. Hi. I am experiencing the exact same thing. I love the Lord with all my heart, but attending this church I attend is, just as you put it, a “chore”. I have been a member for years. I have suffered (what some may call) persecution, but yet I am still drawn there. I have prayed to God for guidance and, thus far, I have not been instructed to leave. I have, on occasion, been reminded to just focus on the message and God will do the rest. You are not alone. I encourage you to pray and trust God. Proverbs 3:5-6.

    4. I can certainly relate. I left a church i had attended for 19 years. Many different reasons but I knew it was time. The church I started going to. I loved it. I have grown so much there. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel like I belong. Several months ago a couple has came in and changed our music. Where once there was a happy medium between traditions and contemporary. This couple has came in and now it’s all contemporary. It drives me insane. We are a Pentecostal church and I can’t remember the last time where we sang anything that reminded me of a Pentecostal church.. It’s gotten extremely worst the last couple of months bc all I do is sit in the service and cry
      I keep saying God I don’t belong here, but right now I am scared of the fact that if I leave . I’ll be out of church bc I don’t know where I’d go. I’m sitting here at work now crying bc I don’t know or I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. At one time I couldn’t wait until Sunday to get to church, now I almost dread it when it gets here.

    5. Your words and experience touches my heart especially the part about feeling sad and crying and praying and reading tour Bible in the foyer. I have been hurt by a person in leadership recently and in the past and the recent hurt felt wounding and traumatic for me.
      When I was alone with. my Father God He showed me these verses from Psalm 34 and verses 17 through 19 but especially verse 18.
      The Lord comforted me with this verse and I wanted to and I believe the Lord wanted me to share this with you and may you be comforted abd receive His tender love for yiu and experience howe orecious and loved you are. by your Heavenly Father I pray in the Name of Jesus
      “The Lord is nigh unto them. that are of a broken heart ;and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

    6. dear Alana. I had some typographical errors in the message which I just sent to you. Please forgive me!
      What I meant to write and what was.so full of “misspellings” was this
      “…how precious to God and loved you are by Your Heavenly Father.”
      with love in Christ,
      your sister in heali ng through Christ, Marie

    7. I know exactly how everyone feels here. I am somewhat new to the area I live in now, but every single church I try has very strong cliques and I just can’t fit in or feel like I belong. There are designated “greeters” and “welcomers” who seem to be nice and friendly at least on the outside. But once your inside the church, no one else will approach me or try to get to know me. In my youth and college years churches seemed to be more welcoming and made you felt like you belonged right away (this was in the 1980s and 1990s) I don’t know if it’s because times have changed drastically or what? At this point I’m having a much better experience with God at home watching pastors and sermons on You Tube.

  22. Thank you so much for this piece.. its been so helpful. I feel like an outsider in my church and i almost cringe in my soul to go and mingle any further with them. But your piece has helped me get so much relief. Thank you so much and God bless you

  23. This article helped me remember that our church is made up of sinners like myself and Jesus did suffer these same feelings so who am I. So, I thank this article for the reminder get out of the pitty party. Amen

    1. Bernadette, everyone is trying their best to fit into a church, it’s not very kind to label everyone on this forum as people who are having a pity party. And then you say Amen! wow you are a saint aren’t you.

  24. I feel like this often , even from leaders of our church. I continue to pray and seek God’s strength to forgive even when I hear negative comments about me or someone else ., it’s becoming more frequent to hear others comments about people , we should be a body that encourages and pray not tear others down. It’s just brakes my heart to see how people do not seem to have any convictions or remorse. They continue to do it . I don’t know if I need to find another church or still stay and act like nothings is wrong and just pray . My husband and I at different times talked to our pastor about other things from time to time and was open and shared our hearts but he just is more involved in the youth and many adults members are leaving or not attending. Please pray for all of us . We just feel like if you can be part of the youth , your not part of the church. Awhile back a lady comment about she doesn’t feel like they fit into the click and his wife’s reply that’s just because we are together more do disciple makers and youth nites . They don’t seem to realized or even care , they just act like when someone is hurt or offended their just over reacting or has mental problems . They are sweet people and we do things to be involved . But I truly feel like my Pastor thinks I’m just plan annoyed with anyone that not apart of the youth. I feel like he doesn’t like me . I know pastor do deal with so much, so I pray really hard for him and try to not bother him , because I know he really busy . We don’t feel comfortable talking to him about any of this .

  25. I don’t fit in at church because I’m a 45 year old, childless single and am too smart and well read. While not an introvert I’m far less out going than we are encouraged to be.

    Sadly I have gifts the church needs. Discernment for one. And I can be very tactful too,–which is essential for using this gift.

    Since I was a teenager I have longed for a deeper Christian life. This may be (partly) why I failed to marry–not enough time spent on clothes and make up or figuring out flirting techniques. But as a single I have no standing in the church. Women are only valuable as wives and mothers.

    The Bible says we can’t preach or teach men. They don’t want me teaching kids because I’m not a mother. They don’t want me in women’s ministry since I’m not a wife or mother.

    I try to be meek and forbearing but frankly it’s depressing. My Catholic friends have urged me to leave Protestantism for their church. The neat thing about Catholicism is they’re not anti-intellectual and don’t hate virginity. Sick of the shallow banal sermons, lessons, and praise choruses. Tired of preachers telling me I’m sure to marry so they can dismiss my loneliness.

    What should I do?

    1. I have been through too much to even share in a church, not the other churches I have been in. We have the freedom to leave and find a church we can grow and serve God in. One suggestion I have is to look for others in the church sitting alone and possibly would love for you to sit with them and offer fellowship. It is a blessing to help someone going through the same thing. God Bless you, you are loved and fully accepted in Christ! ❤️

    2. Do you have an intimate relationship with Jesus? It will take the focus off you when you turn your eyes on him. He loved you so much that he gave his life for you. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. Just spend a little time with him and ask him about the things that bother you. I guarantee you will hear as I pray for you. God bless Tom

    3. I was raised a very devout Catholic. I’m glad I left. Do you like living under The Law, praying to saints, and working your way (hopelessly) into Heaven? You’re in a very hard place. I spent many years single, and had a hard time fitting in in one church, in particular. Now my wife and I (especially me) feel disregarded. She’s 55 and I’m 60. I feel all I’m wanted for is the most menial, undesirable tasks in church, despite us both having masters degrees, and being proven leaders (I’m a retired Army officer). That was fine when I was in college, but at age 60 I’m still only qualified for the most dirty tasks todays high school and college kids refuse to do? Oh, and working in SS childcare sometimes. I don’t have an easy answer for you, but I’d be looking and looking for someplace to fit in.

  26. Me Too! I had been in church leadership, as a small groups leader, care leader, support group facilitator and SS and junior church teacher. My first wife passed away in 2011 and I have since remarried. Only, in deference to my wife now, we have been attending a Lutheran church. everyone there is 70 years old and thinking like 90. They have a vicar, a woman, in training for ministry and she is great, but outnumbered.

    I am not used because there are no small groups, care groups or support ministry and they don’t know that I can teach and preach. Lutherans only seem to recognize other ministry trained Lutherans as being capable. No discernment, no Spirit-filled acts.

    I gotta leave. I am like a fish in the desert.

    1. We were interested in a conservative Lutheran Church, but the pastor would not offer membership classes because we don’t believe in one-man shows, turning your back to the congregation to pray, closed communion, and infant baptism.

  27. I just feel really rejected by leadership in church. It’s like they keep making pronouncements such as “We love you.” from the pulpit but I do not feel trusted or liked, let alone loved. When I was sick for several months and the church knew it, no one reached out. This also happened to a friend. When I was in grief, it was the same thing. It just falls on deaf ears to hear that kind of “We love you.” thing over and over and yet the pastor says it hurts him when people want to leave. He never asks “What is it that is going on that would make you want to leave?” He just keeps demanding that you say and shut up about leaving. Is it really all about attendance and money with him?

  28. I was raised in Baptist church, I raised my three children in church and even going to Vacation Bible School, I led my husband to God, yet i never felt a part of the church as it seemed clicky and the minister seemed to have his inner circle of members and everyone else was there to place money in the basket and shake hands on their way out. Ended up divorce due to spousal abuse.
    I’ve felt very close to God since i was age 9, yet have felt alone, even when around people. I stopped going to church and now i worship God in my own home, my own comfort zone and it’s no worse yet no better than when i attended the physical building called the church.

    1. well, l read it .. but l am resolved to stop putting up with all the drama and fakes smiles, fakes l love yous and all those things l have been putting up with all the so called brothers and sisters in the Faith, l believe in God and l will keep believing but l deserve better from people around me and l have to stop forcing myself every Sunday to go to see those cardboard smiles and people wellcoming me as if it was the first time they see me just trying to imply that l dont belong and dont fit in their hypocrisy… l am done l will be free to worry about their crap..


  29. I converted from an agnostic person to an Epsicopalian after 20 years of being disconnected from the love of Jesus. I joined a whole community in my faith. I joined a church and was confirmed. I attended the same parish for 3 1/2 years. I saw so much what I consider to be craziness of human behavior. Ugly behaviors that only work for the cliques that portrayed the behaviors. Hurtfully being ignored, picked over, excluded, time and time again. I finally decided with my husband we have to try a new place. I feel so lost. I am so afraid our new church will have the same cliques that we don’t fit in to. I don’t want to fit in, I want to be accepted for my heart and my values instead of things I find so much less meaningful. I am scared. I am lonely, I have gone to my priest, I have not lied to her, I kept what I told her very factual. I saw not one improvement after I went to my priest. That hurt even more I felt like because I cried my heart out to her and I felt good about leaving the conversation that we had about future changes in our tiny congregation. Change is hard. I just have to keep remembering that God is in charge, it is his/her church, and I am a member of God’s church and family. In five years, I am sure I will be in a different place. Thank you.

  30. Yes, you are correct. I have attended a wonderful strong Bible teaching church for 9 years. I serve as a greeter, food ministry and study group co-leader. But I have run out of gas. I have been divorced 30 years. My wife left for a guy at work. I raised my 2 girls by myself. Most of the adult singles here left for other churches (my closest friends). Looking over the weekly bulletin, the next 5 activities are all geared toward “young” families. The lead pastor is in his 40’s. The other 3 are younger than my daughters. All of them married with children. I am sure they have no idea how different my life is than theirs. The people the age of my daughters are also married with children as are the people my age. All the sermons are geared toward those groups, as you would expect.

    I understand and agree with what you are saying. But being at a church where you do not “fit” the mold… As you serve and fill others, you also need strengthening, or you will be spiritually drained. how long can you give dog food to a cat and expect it to remain healthy?

    I decided to research for a bible teaching single adult, single parent friendly church in my area and found that this is a common issue. Churches are largely organized to meet the needs of younger, intact families and adult couples. Most of them expect that the single person should fit into this mold. But imagine if a young couple with children were at a church where everyone was single and retired. Fellowship it’s difficult without some common interest to share.

  31. I was in a church for 7 years where I felt unwanted and worthless. I kept going because the pastors preaching was spot on, but the congregation was a social club. If you’re not part of the cool kids table, nobody wants anything to do with you. Nobody came to see me when I was in the hospital. I joined the men’s group because I was desperate for male fellowship. The guys were always doing stuff together and I wasn’t invited. When I tried to host get togethers, nobody would come. I was so lonely. We moved, and found a church where I do feel loved and cared about, but I’m having a hard time letting go of that old hurt. I’m hesitant to get to close to anybody and have my walls up. I’ve tried getting ahold of the old church office and some of the leaders to try to initiate some healing and closure, but they won’t even return my calls. My biggest regret is that I didn’t leave years earlier


  33. It is a challenge to fit in a church now a days, I do understand that I belong to God and accepted his salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. I do my best to Follow His ways through the word of God. It seems that I am lost in the understanding if I should force myself to be in a church full of people I don’t know. I have been in small churches before, but seemed they wanted me to be like them instead of being like Christ. Reading the Bible does not match up with today’s churches and their requirements

  34. The feeling of isolation or of outside looking in is not a bad thing I agree. If it continues God may be telling us it is time to go. The organized church seems to be stumbling about but we can always meet together in small groups to worship… Feeling like we don’t belong may be God’s way of telling you He wants you alone with Him…that may include not gathering with anyone for a period of time…Paul did this prior to going into ministry, Jesus did as well…maybe God is calling us to other avenues. Fast and pray..God is faithful to lead us to where and what He wants us to do.

    1. Very true! Sometimes we think we are supposed to fix what is wrong with the church when the truth is that God is calling us out of the church…to be with Him. This is where I’m at.

  35. That’s how I feel in church. I feel like an outsider. The pastor looks at me in a hateful way. She barely don’t want 2 hold a conversation with me like she do with others. I guess if I didn’t play the instruments there I wouldn’t be there.

  36. I have been going through this feeling for a few years now. Most churches cater to children, youth, college age, young singles, married couples (with or without children), and senior citizens. Our church even has a program specifically for single moms. But, even with all those categories, I still don’t belong anywhere, and I feel reminded nearly every Sunday when the pastor preaches on how to be a good Christian spouse or parent or how to keep your family grounded in Biblical truths or when every home study group does Bible studies based on these same factors that I, seemingly, cannot be a good Christian if I don’t have a spouse to submit to and a child to raise in Godliness. I have known most of the church members at the church I usually attend for three decades and have been to several other churches where friends attend over the last year, and I still sit alone and uninvited, awkwardly revealing that I am without a family of my own. It’s a struggle for me to attend church and to remember that I belong to God not to people. I am going to save this blog to my favorites so I can come back to it because I know there will be more Sundays that leave me feeling like an alien in church. Thank you for writing and posting it.

    1. I posted on this site last month and have had 6 weeks off church . I have been praying alot about this an i recently had a revelation i hope it doesent offend anyone and hopefully will be helpful as i know how hard going to church can be.
      The revelation is that Christ said we need to die to ourself if we want to truely live. My problem has been that I have been living by my flesh and wanted people to notice me at church i wanted someone to come over and ask how i am Going . Its all me me me stuff. I need to die to my self. ” i no longer live but Christ lives in me”
      I am going to take this attitude to church and hopefully I will be to someone else what i want them to be to me.
      Good ” luck everyone”

      1. So true. I guess that is my answer. I need to Trust In the Lord with all my heart, and lean not to my own understanding and in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will strengthen my heart. Thanks for the word. Get Out of Self. Let it die.

  37. I have been going through this feeling for a few years now. Most churches cater to children, youth, college age, young singles, married couples (with or without children), and senior citizens. Our church even started a program specifically for single moms. But, even with all those categories, I still don’t belong anywhere, and I feel reminded nearly every Sunday when the pastor preaches on how to be a good Christian spouse or parent or how to keep your family grounded in Biblical truths that I, seemingly, cannot be a good Christian if I don’t have a spouse to submit to and a child to raise in Godliness. It’s a struggle for me to attend church because of this, because I don’t belong. I have known most of the church members for three decades, and I still sit alone and uninvited during every sermon

  38. I stayed home from church today because I’m not physically feeling well but also because I have been going through a fierce spiritual battle on many sides but feeling invisible at church is a big one. I am a born again Christian and have been in church most of my life. I attend a megachurch and recently I have began to feel more and more isolated. My husband usually works on Sundays and works very long hours through the week so I am usually at church alone. I have been at this church for almost 3 years and I’m still trying to find my place. It has gotten so bad that I was getting depressed over it. This article has helped me tremendously. Also now I realize there are others like me and I will do more to reach out. I am thanking God for leading me here and thanking each and everyone that has shared because you have been a blessing to someone. God bless.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I stayed home from church today becauee it’s such hard work. I thought it was because I am a new Christian I feel llik an outsider but your post makes me think twice.

      I need a rest from life stresses and church just adds to it. I find Christians arrogant and fake – huggy but not meaning it, thinking the church-y way is the best way -not His way. Low morals as well. Like fair trade issues and green issues don’t really matter. People drive around all the time. Cars are not optional – you have to have one to join in. I hope God forgives me for saying this about His children.

  39. I stayed home from church today because I’m not physically feeling well but also because I have been going through a fierce spiritual battle on many sides but feeling invisible at church is a big one. I am a born again Christian and have been in church most of my life. I attend a megachurch and recently I have began to feel more and more isolated. My husband usually works on Sundays and works very long hours through the week so I am usually at church alone. I have been at this church for almost 3 years and I’m still trying to find my place. It has gotten so bad that I was getting depressed over it. This article has helped me tremendously. Also now I realize there are others like me and I will do more to reach out. I am thanking God for leading me here and thanking each and everyone that has shared because you have been a blessing to someone. God bless.

  40. Thank you – I am working with the children and youth in my church and I am doing an event promoting belonging. These words provide a great jumping off point to dialogue and I am planning to use some of them this Sunday night! Will give you full credit and put your name on anything I hand out. Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s heart in this manner!!

  41. I grew up in the church and left for a few reasons. Many things happen in my family and knew that I needed to go back. I went back and now this church is a bi language church. it hard to fit in or talk to someone at times when you have no idea or no way to speak, when you are a quiet person. I love going to this church by volunteer, all the activities for the family. I just would like to talk to others and know how I feel. It hard to talk to the pastor about it, when we had disagreement about everyone should be able to play volleyball and should be for fun and not about winning.

  42. My experience in church was isolation every Sunday I walk in with a smile and leave with my head down. No one ever said hello or showed even the smallest bit of kindness I brought my children there for religion classes but the teacher wouldn’t even look at me. I watched them all talking together laughing enjoying each others company. One Sunday I came in a little late and I sat behind a large family that took up the entire pew, when we were to shake. hand to share peace with each other not one person shook my hand, I was dressed appropriately I have no idea why, one day I went to pick my children up from religion classes and my sister was with Me I walked in and they were having a small gather with food and drink they said to my sister hello would you like to join us I never went back again.
    I realized if I am to be treated like that in this church Christ can not even be present and I’ve never returned and that was 20 years ago I had attend this church for over a year each time I went in faith.

    1. I felt like this for so long aswell. I actually thought this was just a blokes problem which is clearly wrong on my part. I was born again 15 years ago and found a great church to start off in , everybody loved my enthusiasm and it was full of single people
      I left and found a church that had solid teaching and i loved learning more about our Christian faith. I slowly started to struggle with some people and overtime this got harder until i was always focusing on the people who didn’t show me love or any respect at all. I had to pray alot before I went to church and usually i left feeling terribly sad . after trying for a few years i left , we moved and that made it a good excuse . The next church was the same experience just a couple of people who were rude to me and i was struggling again! We found a new church again and this time i have just been protecting myself and not trying to get involved but they are nice people , i just don’t want to socialize anymore .
      I don’t know how to shake this, my wife is worried that i will isolate myself and our kids will follow me.
      I question is it all my fault ? Have i just turned out like my parents who have no friends and never did in my lifetime ? Am i unforgiving and easily offended ? What can i do?
      I pray that we all find a way to get through these issues.

      1. Perhaps you and your wife can join a Sunday morning Adult Bible Study
        Class in addition to going to the church service. Also, maybe check and
        see if you can also join any of their weekday or weeknight Bible Study
        Groups or Support Groups or other activities, either at the church or in someone’s home.
        Maybe check the church’s website or call the church office for info.

        You don’t have to follow in your parents’ footsteps. You don’t have to
        be lonely or friendless. Change your world. Force yourself to socialize and be social.
        Forgive and forget. Life is too short to hold grudges. We all have the same human flesh
        and blood. We all make mistakes and fall short. Please don’t give up.
        Please keep trying. Gather up your courage, and keep putting one foot in
        front of the other. God has plans for your future. That includes Christian
        fellowship. God bless you.

  43. Recently, I have been saved and baptized. I go to a church, a wonderful church. I feel like I don’t belong there and feel very nervous when I enter the doors. I just don’t know. I love those people and have nothing against no one, but I feel like I just don’t belong. I keep praying for God to show me where I need to be to grow in my faith and do his work. This article was a blessing for me to read and Acceptance from God is really all I need.

  44. I’m tired of the celibacy, the hiding of child abuse, priest and sister not getting married and counseling on marriage since no experience in marriage. A law suit waiting to happen. I don’t trust priest and sisters in confession. I can confess to God in the comfort of my own home. And I’m tired of all the man made rules and always giving money. God loves me ether I give or not. So I’m leaving the Catholic Church. Blessings

  45. I’m tired of the celibacy, the hiding of child abuse, priest and sister not getting married and counseling on marriage since no experience in marriage. A law suit waiting to happen. I don’t trust priest and sisters in confession. I can confess to God in the comfort of my own home. And I’m tired of all the man made rules and always giving money. God loves me ether I give or not.

    1. Great for you! I left the catholic church. I believe God wants us to have a real relationship with Him. When you go to mass, they pray: repeat the same thing over and over again…service after service…..then go home and pray the rosary…over and over again. I don’t believe if you had a
      conversation like that with a regular human being, they would look at you funny….how much more do you think it would bore God?

  46. THANK YOU. This article help me or should I say remind me of who I really am. I will not always fit in if I am to stand for God’s truth.

  47. Desperately needed this today. So many tears shed as I read. Thank you for posting something genuine and not another mindless “X steps to coping with being an outsider”. It was truly heartfelt and I am sincerely appreciative.

  48. Yes i feel like that as well i just told God that i only have you to talk too and then came this. God is really with me and for me.


  49. Thank you for posting this. I cried while reading this. I’m dealing/going through this right now and quite frankly it sucks! I am in my late 20’s. I’ve been going to this church since I was a young teenager off and on. About 3 years ago I got serious with my walk with God and been going regularly ever since. I even got promoted as a leader for a particular auxiliary. I’ve shown myself friendly, saying hello, giving compliments, trying to plan up gatherings just to be let down… I literally have 1 friend at church and we are not really that close bc I am afraid to open up too much, in fear that she may repeat what I tell her even though she is not known as a gossip. I just keep persevering but lately I’ve been getting attacked hard in this area. I know it’s the enemy but its seems to be getting harder to go.

    1. I am also trying to work through this. Its difficult to accept that after serving regularly and attending every service possible I would still be walked around to invite others to something and just act like I am not there. When all but one or two are left out it hurts. I pray God gives us all comfort and direction in this area.

    2. God bless you. For your encouragement, Jeremiah had only one faithful follower, Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, who helped the king to know of Jeremiah’s plight, then pulled him, with 30 other men , out of the pit. So just keep faithful and don’t worry about who’s receptive or not, who’s nice or not, as God’s Word that you are sowing now will never return to you void but will accomplish the purpose wherewith it was sent. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
      Often we must go out to the highways and byways to find those who truly love God and often they are the misfits, just like some of us. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” Mt. 22:9

  50. Thank you for this. I don’t fit in at mt church. Years ago I decided it was better to be me and be an outsider then to pretend. Pretending is a spider web I choose to avoid.
    Now I must decide what to do . . .

    1. Decide to follow Jesus. He is all. Never give up. I think i sense some sadness in your comment. Please stay close to Jesus. You are strong and courageous. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You area daughter of the King.
      Live forHim. Praying for a fresh experience of his love and provision in all.
      May the Lord richly bless you according to His ways.

  51. As a man I honestly feel I don’t belong in church anymore. You pick up the church bulletin on any given Sunday and it is filled 90% with bible studies, activities, etc. for the benefit of women only.

    Sadly, as a result men are increasing being getting left behind in their spiritual growth in most churches nowadays… Yes, there is often a “Men’s ministry”, but for the most part men do not like to meet in such groups. Men like me anyways. I prefer mixed groups.

    I didn’t grow up in a time when there was so much “gender apartheid” going on in church like there is today. I can’t understand why the majority of bible studies , teaching sessions, prayer meetings, activities, etc. cannot be opened to all who has a desire or a need to participate in it? Those topics that are really only pertinent to one gender or the other, are far and in between, yet the church would have you believe the sexes’ needs are so vastly different that it warrants 90% of church activities to be gender based… Wow.

    We’re all first and foremost human beings with the EXACT SAME spiritual needs. Please serve us all equally.

  52. It is a a shame that the family God intends us to be is not happening. I am struggling with not belonging too. Single,white,female, 53. Been divorced many years, would like to marry again but refuse to do it any other way but God’s way, which is not popular even in the church, It seems as though you go in sit down then go home that’s it. Married people shun singles and singles (many) are so lonely for companionship we end up making foolish mistakes. We are not supposed to be segregated in the church but we are. I do believe that separate ministry is ok to a degree but when the singles are the babysitters…(you get to eat the leftovers with the kids) after they have their fellowship, you are treated as second class. God made us all equal and man has decided in his own eyes who they value. While all of us know God loves us….Fri. and Sat….weekends sure get lonely talking to your cat. That is not his intention, we are suppose to have real fellowship together…all of us…single, married,white,,black,young ,old… together as a family. Pastors have gone way to far with small groups and created the division and can’t see it. When I mention segregating the singles I was told married people have different problems. It is just a social club. Several years ago before the swing toward so many small groups we all hung out together…(as I remember we seemed to have the same problems but what do I know) the shallowness of today’s church and lack of real teaching is appalling…now for the first time since I was 27 I have been hunting a church for 2years…instead of different personalities they all seem cookie cutter…..where is the family we long for?

    1. Joyce,
      I’m sorry you’re experiencing this discouragement. I too am praying for connection. The modern Church is geared toward extroverts. That pattern doesn’t bode well for transparency and honest genuine interaction. I don’t know where the love is, I’m trying to focus on doing my part to love others. As a married person I also experience the isolation. People tend to seek others like them,it seems surface and country club. The small groups don’t always help. I’m wondering whether it’s worth continuing in one.
      Jesus, we pray in your name , that you touch each writer here and guide our steps, we ask you to meet our needs each day and that you answer our cry for belonging , lord help your Church. Thank you for bringing us to you oh keep us close and in forgiveness, grow us in love and grace for others. Joy joy thank you , in your precious name Amen

  53. I loved church it’s just recently I don’t want to go I believe it’s the people are upper class I don’t like this feeling at all i was in a cahtolie church all my life now I joined a chrstain church I am hurting have no get up to wan5 to go an I am a strong believer help me I beg u

  54. God bless you… When & how to handle spiritual rejection & not belonging in the place u believe God has sent & used me. I’ve been through spiritual abuse before & promised GOD that I refused to go down that road again. I must crawl up on Father, GOD’S lap and seek guidance, comfort & peace during this time. GOD just give me enough light for the step that I’m on…. YOU (GOD) know me … I was born “to fit” into YOU, GOD… HELP me to SEE ONLY YOU GOD…. I can not sustain another trip thru spiritual abuse….especially when it is done openly… “Speak GOD….THY servant is listening”..
    Please respond off-line to my email…

    1. It is good that you pray to Father God and I’m sure He hears your prayers.Just a suggestion, as Jesus said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. It’s good to pray in the name of Jesus. He walked on this earth and understands us better than anyone. He is the way to reach God our Father. Also, I’m learning I must seek to please Jesus first and foremost, not to worry about what others think of me, and pray to be humble, as He’s the only One who can truly satisfy our hearts and our hunger for His Word. It’s good to have fellowship with other Christians, but frankly, most of the time my fellowship is not inside of a church. As Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20) You can worship Him with just one or two friends. I do understand however the need people have of going to a church on Sunday. God bless you.

    2. I understand where you are coming from. I’m still trying to steady up from the same thing… spiritual abuse…it is much easier to heal when we are able to find a new church and God uses it to help heal us ,but when you can’t find a church it is a huge struggle

    3. Firstly I like church I really do & I do see myself as Christian by that I mean I enjoy the Christian hymns their are some lovely ones. I seem to be the only youngster that appreciates all things bright and beautiful – because to me they are not just words, they carry meaning to me as person. It makes my Sunday. The problem is where I go to church locally for fortnightly services no one turns up to make a service, to actually make a congregation this makes me feel very sad as a person because I’m someone that actually enjoys going & think its sad that people only attend on important dates on the Christian calendar. You see this is when churches are then left empty – instead of being filled with happy faces sharing the meaning of faith together. I think this is due to the changing state of society. I think it’s really sad faith is becoming unpopular I really do, my phrase has always been include all or don’t bother. I just find churches peaceful myself – like a lot of people. The problem with church has always been the reciprocation to minority groups thus depends on your faith establishment. Church communities could be very positive for the minority community but it seems to me by observation that the minority communities try their best to self integrate but church people just look down their noses at Them when they just want that feeling of faith belonging & kinship. Id like to say something firstly I went to a carol service at my local church formerly known as the politically correct affirming all inclusive church. I wasn’t allowed into the church despite knocking on the church door. This to me insulted me as a person – I’ve been a Christian for 27 years & to experience that reception from Church of England – Anglican church I was most disappointed by this. Its like this my view to faith groups the running of them I have a lot to say. It’s like this – what makes a person enjoys the subject of church is based on many factors. It’s like this church is at heart still secular. The problem has always been attracting youngsters because the reality of it. It’s like this I’ve also come across a divide of types within the church sector people. Some very down to earth types, whilst others not so. Speaking generally, I just feel that church doesn’t attract always the right types just my observation. Church isn’t a social occasion but some find company, thus making friends from it. Socially for me it’s been a complete let down, although I leave it open minded to finding friends in this respect. I just feel the Christians I’ve come across their faith doesn’t come across at the heart of them & their souls, also I see little practice of their Christianity outside their church practice. I’m not judging everyone. In terms of same sex civil unions in churches – it’s like this I can only see positives in this by destigmatising homosexuality, making It less taboo and making for more well rounded citizens.

  55. I was basically ignored by my church small group I am standing. Trusting God for marriage healing..i go to church by myself. I would literally sit by myself
    No one sat next to me. I asked people if I can sit with them .after awhile. I left the church. I ran into the small group leader. He ran out of the grocery store. Needless to say. The church does not accept those who are not like them .I realize I belong to god. I just have a lot of resentment toward the self righteous main stream church snobs

    1. I can identify with that. God bless you for not giving up on God even when His representatives, His children, are not always the sample they should be.

  56. Such an awesome help to me and my life at 1:30 am. I belong to God is just what I told my husband two hrs ago. I was struggling with issues hearing my heart. God is so good.

  57. No matter what though, I still feel a “calling” to come into the family of God, wether I feel awkward there or not because I’ve come to the conclusion we definitely belong to God and He welcomes us , no matter if people do or not. Almost to say we shouldn’t go to church because we feel a need to belong anyway, but more, as a need to Praise God, thank God , confess to God, and be amongst people who are doing the same. OUR comforts and our feelings aren’t so important as much as what God wants. And He loves us to Praise Him in a church, He loves who we gather together in His name. He wants us to pray every day as well. In our own homes and privacy, but He wants us to meet Him collectively as a group too. At least, that’s what I feel.

  58. Its all very deflating reading the majority of these posts, however I can identify with them because I am going through a very challenging time at my own Baptist church. I simply feel isolated in there and my current problems such as losing my job recently and having a suicidal 14 year old daughter which the ministry are aware of yet no one even asks me,texts or emails me to find out if things are improving and at church I am completely ignored.
    All I want is to find a loving,welcoming and warm spirit filled church but more and more I am beginning to feel like I do not belong,yes I am a christian and learning more and more about walking in faith,obedience but the church I am currently attending is leading me to despondency.maybe its time to look for another church,I have already started praying about this. God bless all of you.

    1. Really? the same how very boring. That sounds like a social club not a true Spirit Filled gathering of Gods Children. Go where your faith and understanding are going to be stretched ,and you re examine your beliefs(Christ centered ), where you will grow and contribute and become the person Father God intended you to become. Do not grow complacent and feed on milk sops only get into the Word . Being a Blood bought Child of God is the most exciting life you can possibly experience. it is not to be easy or coomfortable, Christ did not have eassy or comfortaable no did the disciples.

  59. I am glad to know that I am not the only person who feels like I don’t belong or fit in at my church. My church is full of warm and loving people who work very hard for the church and love Jesus. But because of actions and behaviors, I still feel like I don’t belong and that my voice is not heard. Perhaps it is because the church is small and run by a few handfulls of people who want control of everything. My thoughts and suggestions are ignored because “this is the way we have always done it.” When I ask questions of my pastors about theology, I get no answers, only response is “those are very difficult questions.” And that’s where it ends. In my Bible study group, we hardly spend any time talking about the Bible in any great detail. It seems mostly like a social group with a superficial interest in the Scripture. I have so many questions about my faith. I am glad to have found this post, and I thank you for reminding me that I am a child of God. I also thank the commenter who reminded me of the scripture from Romans 12-2. I don’t hate my church, there are a lot of nice people there, but I just don’t feel the warmth that comes from being truly listened to and understood.

    1. I can identify with what you say. People, even church goers, are many times comfortable with the ways things are and satisfied with unanswered questions, whereas Apostle Paul exhorted us to search the scriptures: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11 and Jesus Himself said “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Jn. 5:39 I know there are sincere believers out there who are not afraid to ask questions, like you, but too many times others interpret this as a lack of faith or they simply are not interested or haven’t enough Bible knowledge or interest to find the answers themselves. Paul also says: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15 Also, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn. 8:31,32 So to be a true follower of Jesus and be truly free we must continue in His Word. It’s an on-going process. Many times we simply need to seek these true followers out, those who are hungry for the knowledge of God. I myself would like to meet more people like this who are open minded to the things the Lord would like to show and will acknowledge that His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
      For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa. 55:8,9
      I pray you can find the in depth fellowship you need.

  60. Dearest Brothers & Sisters in Christ! You are not alone! The Word tells us that Our Lord asks: Will I find Faith when I return?!
    What we are experiencing is the superficiality of people around us, especially in church! I too had an experience this morning with a Leader at my Church. I thought: REALLY???!!! YOU TOO???!!! I have been praying all day today about it and I even attended another Church instead of my regular one. Thank God I was able to!!! But, as I drove home, I began to cry… The sign of the times is here… This is where our foundation is being tested: Do you Love God? Do you really Love Our Lord? Enough to Love those that are blind? Enough to Love those that the Word tells us we must pray for? For those of us who acclaim to say we Love Jesus Above All, this is our time to be an example to others!!! Especially to those in Leadership. May the Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Authority and Strength be with us ALL!!! And may Wisdom be embedded deep within our Soul… That we may Glorify God with our Lives! For we go to God’s House to Praise and Worship Our Lord, not the people. Community comes second to our Moment with God. This is what I believe… May God give me the strength to face the callousness of others around me! In Jesus Name I Pray! It is difficult to Love in the midst of adversity. But, isn’t this what Jesus did?…

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment. There are so few who truly follow Jesus and hunger for more truth on a daily basis. Sometimes we ourselves need to seek these special followers or would-be followers our, those who will listen, those who are like-minded, which isn’t easy, going against the flow of things. Plus, Christians are being maligned in the media and in the movies making many church-goers simply stick to their safe zone so as not to offend anybody. Lord help us to remain strong. And yes, I believe we are in the last days too as is evident in so many signs and ungodly laws that are being passed.

  61. I would like to join a church where I feel I belong but Ive been to two churches so far and I feel I don’t fit in nor do I belong there. I prayed that God guides me where to go and on that same day that I prayed I found an invite to attend (second church).First visit was OK but second was terrible. It showed that I am a stranger and invisible. But this is a lesson for me on how to show compassion: know who is new and welcome them with a friendly face. Because you don’t know what that person is going through in life & is in need of help in reaching out to the LORD. I hate when believers are mean-spirited & practice self-centeredness!

    1. Amen to that…i really thought I was the only believer not accepted by the church. My hope and confidence is in belonging and accepted by God?

  62. I started going to this church maybe I don’t know. But when I walked in the door they said hi welcome to the church. I have been trying to leave the church for some time now. But for some reason if I can say God doesn’t want me to leave. No matter how much I try

  63. The Early Church was marked by discipleship, authentic community and mission up until the Church became institutionalised in the fourth century under Constantine. Ever since the fourth century then Western Christianity has been institutionalised. This causes a fundamental root problem because the laity become passive spectators because of an unbiblical interpretation of ministry.
    A book I would recommend is ‘A Churchless Faith’ subtitled Faith journeys beyond the churches’ by Alan Jamieson. In this book he interviews people who are either leaving church or have left. These people he refers to as ‘Disillusioned followers’; Reflective Exiles; Transitional explorers, and Integrated Wayfinders. It covers the experiences of people who have formed alternative versions of church that are intentional relational and communal particularly in the last chapter ‘Searching for a place to belong’. This is a huge topic, one in which I have struggled with for over 30 years. I do think there are a combination of factors that determine our interpretation of ‘Church’, upbringing, life experiences, suffering, identity, and flourishing in our gifting in the church and the world. I have found that theologically the professionalization of the pastoral ministry keeps people as passive spectators while the ‘experts’ give the ministry and the spectators receive, which is completely unbiblical. There is also a 65/35 gender split in the contemporary UK Church which keeps men in particular away from the church because it feels an emasculating experience deep down, for their is nothing required of core masculine qualities.

    1. Very insightful. I’ll check out the book. There is a lot of churchyanity that is not what Christ intended.

  64. Thank u for this. I have been struggling with this for a few months. I did not know if it was all the changes at church or because I am not longer allow to participate in church. God loves me even if my church doesn’t.

  65. I feel this in my church lately. I don’t fit in, neither do I belong. I never used to feel like this, but it’s such a strong inescapable feeling now. I rarely get included in anything that is happening, and I am not sure that anyone would really notice if I stopped going altogether. But, there isn’t anywhere else to go. I feel overwhelming sadness about this. I dread attending this Sunday, but I don’t have the courage to not go either.

  66. Bible tells us as we grow in the knowledge of Christ , we are sometimes given this gift of “discernment “. Everything looks in order at my church but still, something feels wrong . I’ve even happily gone to church and felt the need to run away before service began. Once I did…in tears. I don’t know if it’s evil spirits in me , or discernment. I only know I USED to feel so alive and happy there. I felt I was growing spiritually there. I was baptized there 2 years ago. It was wonderful ! But Now, there’s a feeling of foreboding to go to church. I’ve been there 7 years. I pray to ask God to help me understand why.

  67. I attend a good church , everyone loves it , they say it’s the best. The teaching is wonderful. But I don’t fit in. I’ve been here for 16 years. Been in this small group for five years yet no one will spend time with me/ us outside the group. I’m not hurtful to others, maybe I’m boring. To them…..I want to move on, my spouse doesn’t like change. He’s ok with the status quo but there’s no depth. It feels like country club Christianity at times. I don’t want to criticize. I just want more that’s real..I know the Lord has something more. I just don’t know where. Please pray

  68. If assembling with the saints wasn’t a direct order from the Lord, I wouldn’t bother. Been thinking of going to another church, but this is a small town.

    1. Yeah I know. Non-Christians are kinder more caring. And they’re less arrogant. As a new Christian in middle age it feels like chipping away at a monolith to forge a place. Shockingly low standards in terms of green issues and fairtrade. It’s like a churchy bubble.

  69. Praise the Lord.. this article is so close to my heart. I for some reason or other cannot seem to settle in one church. I start to see things that I am so uncomfortable with and when I would bring things to their attention I have been labeled a trouble maker. I was out in the world and no one would correct me with my sinful ways…in fact, most of he time I was promoted in it. The church assembly to me is where people are coming for the thoughts of changing their lives. I wouldn’t walk in a weight loss center unless I was considering at some piont of losing weight. So, our representation and lifestyles are crucial in our discipleship. The churches today has lost their flavor and purpose so I prefer to be a church within and visit churches. I have not left the Kingdom. I in realizing that I just don’t fit. Please give me some words of encouragement so I may not just be in my head.
    Thank you Stacy Chever.

  70. I saw you at church when you visited and spoke to the adults during a 3rd hr, I so relate to this post, I am having a faith transition and it’s made my spouse more sad and miserable than we ever thought possible. We are seeing a counselor, but maybe we should come see you… sigh…

  71. But what about if you wonder if your children are accepted? I know that I’m not in the popular group at church and it hurts me tremendously. I teach a Sunday school class which makes it impossible to be in a class with others. I teach because I can and because I want to make sure that I’m contributing. My children love the kids at our church. I go out of my way to have them to my house and feed them and their parents. My children are not invited to other people’s homes. I get the feeling that our church leaders don’t think my kids are good enough and that they are trying to make sure that their kids don’t hang with mine too much. The Sunday school class that is for people with families is quite close. We are never included due to the fact that I teach a kids class. My dh was told that he was too old to be in the class designed for people with children our kids age. We’ve give.n ourselves to that church. Our time, money, etc. The one minister who does the music won’t include my children in anything and they are both instrumentalists. When I see him, he turns his head the other way so he doesn’t have to speak to me. The pastor is related to nearly everyone in the church. We are not related. I don’t know if I would go to another church if things would be different or not. I’m the stereotype that was wiritten about in some comments as the kind who fits on, white, middle class, etc. and I’m not included. I’m ok with not being included even though I would like to be. I am not ok with my children potentially being hurt. My kids love the people at the church but it is evident to me that this is not reciprocated. What should I do? We are bible believing baptists. We take or responsibility to God seriously. I do my post stuff on social media to draw attention to myself as I do not have social media. Most others in the church do. Should I just keep praying and wait it out? I feel like the things that my kids do, the pastor takes on and has his kids do and then kind of makes it seem like his kids are the only ones who are accomplished in an area. All of this hurts me; my kids are oblivious to it. People like me elsewhere so I don’t think that I’m socially awkward. I bathe and practice good hygiene. I feed my Sunday school class each week. I work and contribute to society. Why am i, and especially why aren’t my kids embraced in church. -Hurting

    1. I feel you so much. Try to visit other churches while still attending the one you are part of, and be open to any signs from God. After visiting other churches, praying, and talking to a religious figure that you trust, I believe that the Lord will send an answer to you. Another tip is being open to other denominations of churches. This may seem scary, but this will give you a wider selection of churches in your area.
      The last thing you want is for your kids to be put down. Kids are like sponges, and if you continue striving for acceptance, then they will learn to do the same thing, and grow up begging for acceptance from society.

    2. PLEASE find another church to go to. You, your husband, and your children
      do not deserve to be treated the way that you are being treated. Your current
      church seems snobby and clicky. Spend time at a few different churches until
      you find one that your ENTIRE family feels comfortable in. Church isn’t just
      for kids, you and your husband need to be spiritually-fed, accepted, and able
      to feel like you belong. It’s time for you to RECEIVE from others now. Don’t
      Rush into volunteering to teach too soon at your next church. Please give
      yourself and your family the gift of time. This will be hard for you to do
      because you sound like you might have an overly heavy-duty feeling of
      responsibility to God. Relax for awhile in your next church, allow
      yourselves to simply love God, be loved by God, and get spiritually-fed
      yourselves. God wants you to enjoy Him, and He wants to love and delight
      in you.

  72. I have never felt I belonged anywhere, always searching for acceptance.
    I am even watching videos of people who have passed and come back. I have never known love or been free in my heart.
    What we have never had!!! How can we know how to find God’s love or love him back.
    I want to feel and know with out a dought.

  73. It is important that we know we belong to God and are in his family but that does not negate our responsibility in that family. If people don’t feel a sense of belonging, I would ask if we don’t take seriously our instruction.
    I had a friend say, this is how the world works. People have their cliques. I thought we were called out, to be different?
    Romans 12
    2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
    [3] For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

    John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

    Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

    Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

    Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

    Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

    Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

    1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

    Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

    Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

    Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

    Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

    1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

    Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

    Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

    Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    James 4:11 Do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

    1 Peter 3:8 Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

  74. The church is broken.its full of ppl trying to prove them self worthy and they forget we are all gods children..I will never fit in or be excepted..I have fundamental views but look like white trash dressed in Sunday best ( I am heavily tattooed) put a fundamentalist in a world view church it’s not going to work..put a world marked body in a fundamental church it’s not going to work…I remain alone without a church family

    1. Just passing by and read your comment. I feel for you that you can’t seem to find and fit in a church family. It is a shame that many churches can’t look past the trivial things and see the need for people like yourself to connect. Having tattoos myself, not to mention a whole lot of other baggage, entered a church that saw “me” and my need to grow in Christ. The baggage is not as important as the need to walk with Christ. when we are walking with Christ, He helps us with the baggage. I really hope you continue looking to find a loving church family that will welcome you with open arms. they are out there, I attend one.

  75. Thank you so much for encouraging me on how much god loves me even though I doint fell love in my church I can always count on the Lord’s love to never change for me.and that’s the most important thing to rely on in this world that I am important to him though church members sometimes treat me like a stranger instead of a member of the body of christ. Once again thanks for telling the truth.

  76. Thank you for this message. I am so heartbroken leaving my church I love and cherished after just 1 year of memories I hope never fade. I could not be myself. A Science of Mind church more interested in treating me like a rough draft English composition than knowing me. Felt like my attendance was a dress rehearsal. Stress and anxiety. I have been blocked on their Facebook page. Tears flow easily and often.

  77. I wish that I could accept that. I have been deeply hurt for not fitting the mold..i feel very alone in church..god loves me no matter what. But sometimes that sounds like a platitude and a nooby prize.

  78. Sometimes the one place in which we expect to feel accepted, appreciated, like we are a part of, that we long; is the place where we gather with others to worship. This comes easy for most. For me, wow, it’s like sending a man to the moon!
    I really do sincerely try but I still remain feeling like a visitor rather than a part of the family of God.
    I go to church alone because I am the only Christian in my home. This in itself makes it difficult but I don’t let it stop me. However being a church on my own can really hurt at times. It’s very sad and though I try hard each time to just block out everything else and focus on God, eventually it comes back to the surface.
    I KNOW that I am a child of God but I long to feel like I belong while here on earth and not feel like I am just an ‘outsider’ or ‘visitor’.
    Sometime, just sometimes it’s easier to find a friend in the world than in the Body of Christ. On one of the most recent occasions I felt a knot in my stomach even before getting to church because I knew that it being a special service, everyone would be there with someone. Every year I keep praying and hoping it would change for me but it hasn’t just yet.
    Once I got there, I kept praying to the Lord ‘Lord please help me not to feel alone, help to handle this without falling apart on the inside.
    Well at the end of the service, everyone, and I mean everyone was huddling and greeting someone.(If you are asking why I don’t be the one to mingle, believe me I try) . I kept my eyes closed thinking God if I opened my eyes, I would burst into tears…Well, I had to eventually leave, and I did so with a broken heart. I cried all the way home unable to brings words out of my mouth to the Lord.
    I won’t apologize for how I feel. I am only human and though I agree the root of the problem is within myself and not anyone else, it is a real battle and I just thought that being a part of Church would help in some way to bring healing.
    I remember on my very first day of high school, I was so nervous because I didn’t know anyone. But once I got there, I realized hey, everyone here is new! So we were all in the same place! On the other hand, today, joining an existing group of people, being the new one, could be hard at first, but it should eventually become easier…..For me, this hasn’t happened and I still feel like the ‘new’ person, hard to fit in, to connect to belong. Maybe some day??? Maybe when some more years have passed and I have been there for a long time, maybe then I’d become part of the family???? I sure hope so.
    Until then, I am so thankful that God has opened wide His arms and accepted me. He hides me in His embrace because He alone understands my struggle. Over time I pray that God would fill the void and heal my brokenness so completely that I won’t hurt anymore.

    1. I get you. I’m a Christian in a home that is not. I have people in the church who love me but don’t have the inclination of involving me because I come alone but am married. It sets up pain on pain. Isolation is the enemies tool to separate us. I know God is mine and I am his but having a flesh person walking faith with you is a luxury. Just know that although you feel alone you are not alone. The emotions are valid but they’re not the entire truth. Fight the good fight with those of us in the silent fringes. Hugs blessed

    2. Thank you for this. Right now I’m am going through the same. I go to a lovely church full of lovely people, where I have been for 10 years, and I know I would miss a lot if I left. My family are non-Christian so I go alone. Everyone asks each other about their children when they have grown up in the church and are known by everyone; no-one asks about my children, as many people in the church don’t know I have any. I avoid church BBQs and days out because it will be a constant challenge to find people to talk to and sit with. I am quite quiet but sociable and don’t have a problem getting on with people, but most people just like to hang around in families and cliques. I chat to people a lot, but I’m not one of the “populars”. I think I’ve been struggling a bit lately as my Mum died last year; at that time people were very kind and seemed to have time to phone or have a word with me. But now, a year on, I’m feeling better and would love to spend time with these same people to just enjoy their company, but they don’t seem to have time for me now. I’m feeling a bit lonely and invisible in church. The sad thing is I never feel at all like this in any other area of my life.

  79. Today I was just crying out to God because I feel like a opran in my church and it hurts been going for almost 8yrs don’t understand the feeling but reading this helped a little

  80. Today I was just crying out to God because I feel like a opran in my church and it hurts been going for almost 8yrs don’t understand the feeling but reading this helped a little

    1. That’s because it’s all a fake; a nice little club where people can pay themselves on the back because they once have 50p to a beggar so therefore they’re looking after the last the least and the lost. Present them with a real life ‘my partner tapes me and I sleep in the car’ situation and suddenly you get no reply or they are busy.
      The church is a reflection of God. Leave your church; it’s a pack of lies.

  81. I have been looking for a new church to call home for 3 years now and it goes from bad to worse.My wife of 33 years up and deserted me with no warning 1.5 years before I was to retire and travel together.She comes from a family with a history of mental illness and refused to get help along with being in a leadership role in my ex-church her two best friends [also church women] deserted their husbands for health reasons.One guy had Parkinson and the other had a brain tumor removed leaving him with short term memory issues but fully functional.The church was complaisant and no discipline was carried out with the offenders as they retained their positions like nothing happened.Great role models for young women coming up in the church. It took the pastor 2 years to call me and said to move on. Amazing advice there Sherlock.As a separated male in his mid 50’s I fit in nowhere.Former friends vanished as they were all couples .Single people I know [not friends] are running around pretending they’re 20 again,liquored up chasing skirts half their age.Don’t want to go there at all.I am an outdoors man that doesn’t smoke ,gamble or drink. I go to bible studies and sit by the fireplace with my dogs reading the Bible.Eat sleep work…I feel like I’m in a prison with a small exercise yard doing life. I have a new 30 year mortgage on a home I once owned and will work till I die.A square peg in a round holed world. The rapture can’t come soon enough to suit me.

  82. I kind of don’t know where to start, but I have struggled with belonging to a church for years. I understand what you mean about uniqueness. And I’m 43 single male, which usually most Christians I know feel that I need to find someone to be married. I always find it funny that I get invited to the Men’s Bible Study at the same time that people find out I’m single. Lol. But I never felt a need to solve the loneliness of being single in the church was marriage. I can’t say that God’s plan for my life is always to be married. But the churches I have gone to over the years, from 8 different denominations, don’t seem to know what to do with single people. It’s either get married or what I usually fall into is get them involved with every ministry under their roof. I actually have no issue with being single except one, being lonely in the church. Single outside of the church doesn’t feel like a problem for me. So last year I ended up burning out, not just from church activity but some stressful life events as well. I ignored God telling me I needed to rest and listened to others telling me to keep pressing on. I’m now in a new city, with a new job, and currently looking for a new church home. But honestly, I’m not eager in trying new churches, I know I have baggage with being single in the church, and diving into ministry when I still need to rest. I hope this makes sense, I’m running on 3 hours of sleep. However, that has been my struggles with belonging to a church. As for being single, I become interested in marriage when I see a compatible Christian woman for me. Then I have an interest in marriage. Otherwise, I’m not really interested.

  83. You are right. But many times I do not fit in. But I belong to God. I am a male who is standing for my marriage
    I have had people ask me if I am going to remarry. To me
    That is none of them business
    Many in the church can not accept you as you are. If you do not fit their mold

  84. I am poor, black, disabled, with a brain disorder, and a woman. It seems all of the stereotypes are against me. No, I don’t fit in with the stereotype of the white, middle class Anglican. I tried a white church. They said they loved all colors. But I was never asked to be included in anything, my pastor never encouraged me or said anything positive about me, and I was ostracized by the women in the church who were young, white, middle class, stay at home moms with a husband and several children. I had one older white man who wanted to date me. I felt like the other white men were afraid to talk to me or even touch me. I am 42, and i have never been married with no children. The women my age were very family oriented. I did not have a family. I felt left out. At one point, the few black people sat together in the back of the church, and the whites sat in the front of the church. Welcome to the Deep South. I felt like the whites thought that the blacks only came to church to get free groceries (because they bussed in inner city people out of low income apartments as part of their outreach program.) Yes, I needed the groceries because I was on food stamps. But I always felt like a charity case and ostracized. And yes, I do have a college degree.

  85. I needed to hear this-I’ve felt like I didn’t belong in my church ever since I joined-Thanks for your writing. I may not fit in with the church family, but I fit in with God! There so many in my church that click together and have family of family members that has been there forever, and they seem to think not another source for this church should have any part of service, or a say on anything! I feel judgement by them, like I don’t deserve to be aquatinted in the church at all! I put my tithes and help with building up the church. I have tried so many times to help in a lot of areas. I’m turned down each time

  86. Hi, Right now I am battling with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy as my Daughter has cut me out of her life simply because I had an “opinion”. She threw every maternal mistake I made with her as a teenager, mistakes confessed and apologised for into my face and made me feel like the most rubbish Mother in the world… My son backed my daughter and now I am not allowed to see or interact with 5 of my precious Grandchildren. Through tears of regret and repentance I told her I was so sorry but her answer floored me. Now I am trying to rebuild my relationship with my son but I am still only allowed to see my Grandchildren including a new Grandson or have photos or Skype time with them when he and his wife say so. I have had one Skype time to meet my new Grandson and see my two beautiful Granddaughters once in September when my Grandson was born. A brief glimpse of him and a very controlled glimpse and talk to my Granddaughters. No photos allowed and yet I have nothing to him that hasn’t been humbly confessed and apologised for. They say I have their forgiveness but that was a year ago and their idea is to drip me back into their lives whilst keeping me out of it. Both families profess to be Christians and indeed we brought them up in the Church. Both families are so hostile to me they make me feel like rubbish. I am not a bad person, just a person who has made mistakes. But my sins and mistakes have been thrown at me by them time and time again.. My younger daughter knows me far better than they profess to know me and I am now happily living close to her, her lovely husband and two boys. I have so many health problems and this last year I developed a great deal of mental health problems to go with the physical ones.. I have lost all faith in Churches now but continue to have a deep faith in God. Without it I would have gone through with the suicide i felt was my best option last year. Thank you for this piece and I am praying that one day I will feel I can belong in my family again as my younger daughter has made me belong and as God makes me belong. Maybe even find a Church I can feel I belong too.

  87. Hi Paul.
    Thanks for this. I can really relate to thus at the moment. However, having been a part of the same local church for almost 27 years, I have to say that it’s only a season. I have been here before over the years, and come through to a sense of belonging again.
    I don’t understand fully why these seasons happen, but they do seem to strengthen my relationship with God my Heavenly Father.
    Simply by the fact, as you say, I have fall back on His acceptance and belonging to Him, which is a real comfort in these times.
    Thanks again.

  88. Thank you so much for writing this. I feel blessed. I do agree that feeling that you don’t belong to a community where you’re supposed to belong is really devastating. It actually made me wonder if I’m not trying hard enough or not good enough at all. This made me reel back to Whom I do belong to. I believe, from there, everything else will settle in time.

    God is wonderful in every ways.

  89. Such an interesting piece! I wish I could agree with it more.
    My (ex) church was always keen to say that it accepted differences and I thought that I might ‘belong’, but it turned out that the priest thinks my differences were ‘attention seeking behaviour’ (yes he told me that in public) and other members of the church were keen to tell me how delighted they were to see the changes God was making in my life when I was able to participate like everyone else (e.g. Shake hands during the peace, talk to people, help with coffee afterwards).
    The practical reality is that anyone can belong until they’re considered part of the regular congregation; but once you’re a signed up member you’re expected to ‘improve’ and fit in.
    If God accepts me as I am then he also accepts me FOR EVER as I am; whether I change or not.
    Church – It’s simply not worth it; church sucks (but God is good).

    1. Hi Kate,
      I’m saddened by the response that you received from your priest; people of the cloth should be the last to judge or label others. I think the great call of Christianity is to learn to love and be in community with others who are different than ourselves — but so often, churches can end up judging, excluding, and burdening people instead.

      I agree with you: God IS good! I hope that you can find a place of communion that embraces all of you.

  90. Thank you so much for these words. I REALLY needed them. I’ve been attending our church from the day of its conception and currently serve on the pastoral team. For the past 2-3 years I’ve served faithfully and have been my pastors “right hand man”. Recently our Pastor (my mentor) relocated and our Asst. Pastor took over. I really enjoy him and have a good relationship with he and his family however from the moment of the transition I have felt like I don’t fit in or belong. Every responsibility I had has been past on to others and I can’t find my place now. For the first few months I looked at it as transition within….I mean how will others grow if they aren’t given the same opportunity’s I was (not to mention the Asst. Pastor just simply didn’t need my help). Day after day….I feel more and more like I’m not a part of the family. I’m not including in ANYTHING! It’s difficult going from the “go to” person to the church member that’s last to know….it hurts. I fully understand that I belong to God and that I’m never alone. But the reality is we are Tripartite beings so emotionally and even physically it’s difficult at times…very difficult no matter how “strong” people think you are. The two most difficult things are that I don’t understand why? My spouse once stated, “everyone has seen how much you’ve done, maybe pastor is purposely taking some of the load off” and that I don’t have any spiritual guidance or leadership to go to so I’m continuously in prayer for some type of revelation.

    1. I hear your pain, Eld. Feeling misplaced and underutilized is certainly difficult! I wonder if you’ve shared your desire to continue to be of meaningful service to the community? Strong bonds can be formed by having difficult, vulnerable conversations. I hope that you can find your place in community.

    2. I pray that the Lord would use you in a mighty way, and when that occurs, that you will remember this time and how you feel now. Then hopefully you will help others to not feel so lost in the church because you yourself have experienced it.

  91. Thank you Paul :) After dragging my family from one church to another & feeling like a jig saw piece that just won’t fit into any of the puzzles- I am a member of God’s family! Thank you for revealing the truth.
    I’m sure most readers will realise this but how you feel in church often reflects how you feel in your family of origin (birth family). I come from a highly dysfunctional family where I was the scapegoated child. I am currently low contact & geographically very separate from them (for the benefit of everyone, but I have forgiven them & regularly pray for them).
    After a period of introspection & prayer I realise I may never “fit in” to a church or indeed anywhere, but as this article so eloquently states I am am an indisputable child of God and nothing can change that:)

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful, Vanessa. I agree with you — family of origin dynamics can have such a powerful impact. I’m glad that you’re finding a place of peace, and that you (like me) find meaning and belonging as a child of God, even when it’s hard to find a community that feels right to you. Best wishes to you!

  92. So glad I found your post! I have been attending the same church for a year and a half. Always learn from the preacher, never feel like I fit in. Thank you for your words.

  93. Thank you, for this message, I love God and love what he does through me, sadly I don’t like church, the U.K. Seems to be stuck in a religious time loop to which I don’t fit in anywhere, I have a lot to give but no church wants me as I do not fit the stereotype of a middle class chirstian , it’s hard having no fellowship when you seek it.

    1. Totally agree with you. After 3 years I too feel that I don’t fit the stereotype of white, middle class Anglican – but rather a clumsy, “drops her H’s”, liberal. I’m sure my priest has even avoided me in town! The same “conservative” clique run everything and make it difficult for others to contribute. We have a mission to outward looking, but I don’t see this in my parish. Your article was helpful though. I take comfort knowing I’m a valued member of God’s family.

  94. Thank you very much for articulating so well what I, and what must be many others, feel. What a marvelous reminder of our divine belonging.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen. It’s so easy to get distracted by human judgments, including my own–but when I still my mind and heart, I’m called back into that sense of divine belonging. When I’m centered in that, I’m more able to see things in their proper proportions.

      I hope you’ll enjoy my upcoming posts… Stay tuned!

    1. You’re very welcome, Chelsea :) There is a place – more beautiful than any other – where we all belong.

  95. I was just trying to explain to my husband that I didn’t feel like I belonged at church. He replied that I wasn’t trying hard enough. This blog post hopefully will help me explain how I feel to my husband, and maybe even my Bishop!

    1. I hope it will be helpful, Heather! I think many good and loving people get scared when we talk about these feelings, so they start giving advice or evaluating our efforts rather than seeking to understand. It’s a huge (but worthy) challenge to create a church environment that is welcoming to all people.

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