Talking About Spiritual Outlets

Find Your Place In Your Community And The World At A Local Church

by Maurice Frazier

You may be living in a sparsely populated rural area or a busy metropolis and still feel isolated and adrift. You may also be searching for meaning and structure in a fractured society that promotes extremes such as fundamentalist doctrines or situational ethics, but worships consumerism.

Many individuals can no longer accept many of the archaic doctrines of the traditional church, but still seek fellowship for themselves and their families, as well as the ethical teachings for their children.

The answer to their search may lie in a local community church.

The benefits of attending a community church

While many individuals would still like to attend church for religious instruction, worship, and fellowship, they also want to belong to a church that reflects their values. Rural community churches may tend to be more socially conservative while urban churches may be more inclusive and socially liberal, because of the diversity of their populations. 

However, many community churches are beginning to emphasize ethical teachings and fellowship rather than religious dogma or injecting politics into the church.. Christian churches are focusing on the teachings of Jesus and how they can be put into practice in the modern world, instead of church doctrine. Community churches are more concerned with the daily lives of their members than enforcing impersonal doctrines on the world. 

Churches as community centers

Many community churches don't even resemble a traditional church. They may inhabit a church building that has been abandoned by a traditional church because of declining attendance, or they may be located in an industrial or office park. 

Community churches are often the social centers of a neighborhood, providing educational classes and sports activities, as well as caring for the more vulnerable members of the community. They also offer the traditional services such as marriages and funerals.

Providing a social center for the community promotes greater social interaction in an increasingly isolated society. It also creates an environment where individuals actually want to attend and socialize. Many traditional churches are dour and oppressive, using religious teachings to exclude many individuals who most need the fellowship and compassion that a church should provide.

It also provides a place for children that offers a refuge from the vulgar, violent, and hyper-sexualized entertainment with which they are constantly bombarded at every turn. They are instead offered both fun activities and volunteer work that puts the teachings of the church into action in their own community. 

Many individuals just want to be a part of something larger than themselves, and to find kindness and meaning in a hostile and indifferent world. Community churches can offer both, without the trappings and restrictions of traditional churches.