Direct from David: Anybody reading this feeling lonely?

We are so blessed to have a team of communicators here at Whitewater who passionately and creatively share God’s Word. James Hansee’s message last week was a home run with so many beneficial things to know and review. I was preaching on hell at a church on the Eastside of town last Sunday!

James also preached last month in Haiti at the 15th anniversary of the Living Water Christian Mission.

Salonique and Lucma are doing a fantastic job in Haiti and we are proud to be partners with them in the global mission of God.

We are also proud of all the things that God (and you) are doing with Solve 7.

This coming Sunday, we turn the page in our Like Jesus yearly theme. We will move from Thinking Like Jesus to Acting Like Jesus. First up is learning to Worship like Jesus. FYI – We are going to switch some things from the normal service order, so don’t be late! In fact, coming early is recommended. Come this Sunday with an expectation that God will be showing up too! Worship means many things to many people. Come and learn some things about worship that will make your life better.

Someone forwarded me this church sign from a Lutheran Church. I’m not sure this is the message they wanted to communicate.

Glad we have very humble and capable worship leaders each Sunday here at Whitewater.

Lately I have been hearing more than one person at our church say that they are lonely. An odd, but understandable dynamic in a large church. Some of the loneliest are leaders in their work world. Perhaps someone just moved here, is really busy, or for whatever reason, is finding it hard to connect here more deeply. As staff member Micah Odor says about our vibrant small group ministry – We want to make it hard to be lonely at Whitewater. This is why joining a small group and serving in a ministry is so crucial here.

Christian pastor and blogger, Carey Nieuwhof (I’m a huge fan of his) shared five additional ways to fight loneliness. His advice was for leaders, but applies to anyone struggling with isolation.

1. Admit That Loneliness Is A Decision You’re Making
If I decide to be lonely, I have no one to blame but myself. Solitude is good. Isolation is of the enemy. If I’m lonely, it’s my fault. Period.

2. Cultivate Relationships With Leaders Outside Your Organization
We all hit rough spots. I do. But after years of cultivating close relationships with people both inside and outside of where I serve, I have a dozen or so people I turn to regularly for wise counsel. Many of them aren’t part of our church. This can be helpful because sometimes, if you’re struggling through an issue, they have an outside perspective that can really help you. What unites this diverse group? They love me and accept me for who I am. They are also leading similar sized or larger organizations and understand the unique pressures leaders face. And they can also call any bluff I send their way… Cultivate these relationships today, and they’ll be there for you when you need them.

3. Have A Strong Relationship With A Few Close People Inside Your Church Or Organization.
Having friends outside your organization is one thing, but you also need great friends inside your organization. I’m grateful that I feel like I can always share how I’m doing and feeling with our elders and a couple of other people close to me.

4. Stay In Community 
I have three circles of relationships I pursue locally. My wife and I have always been in community groups in our church…. I realize there are a few things you just probably can’t share with your group, but the benefits of being in authentic community with people from your church outweigh the costs. We also pursue a few good friendships outside of group in our community. And (third circle) I try to reach out to a few new leaders or colleagues every year to keep my circle fresh and alive. I have to work at them. They don’t come naturally. But they are so worth it.

5. Talk To God About It
Elijah thought he was the only one left (1 Kings 19). God has a way of reminding us it’s not nearly as bad as we think. Keeping your loneliness a part of your prayer life will help remind you that you are responsible for your loneliness. Even Jesus traveled with a tribe of twelve or more and cultivated an inner circle of three. If Jesus valued relationships, why do you think you should be different?

What a great list. If anyone reading this Direct from David today is lonely, take responsibility for this now. You’ll be the one most blessed. And make it a priority to be here this Sunday to connect with other people in Worship. You’ll be glad you did!