I see it in your eyes. I feel it from your hearts. I see it in the way you throw yourself into service. You are lonely, so you serve more and more, hoping to connect with someone. If one church doesn’t work out, you try another one. You never give up hope. You keep believing that one day you will find the right church. You see churches that promise you will be loved and treated as part of the family. The promises are never fulfilled. Finally, you find a church with people you connect with, then the pastor changes or turmoil happens in the church, and all your connections leave. The church re-invents itself, and you are left behind. Years of service, all for nothing.
As a leader, I saw and felt your pain. I hoped small groups would be the answer, but small groups often seemed insufficient. I kept reading books, hoping for someone with the answer. I never found the answer.
I blamed it on western society, on church culture, on church staff, and on people’s personalities. Finally, I blamed it on the general depravity of mankind.
Perhaps, it is time for you to give up. Admit you may never find the community in a local church that you desire. Develop relationships at work or in other activities, but admit you may not find it in church. Change your perspective. Instead of seeing church as a place to connect, consider it a place where you receive grace through the sacraments.
The challenge is great. We are so conditioned to seek so much more out of church, the conditioning is difficult to break. But, by accepting the free gift of God’s grace through the sacraments, you will begin to get glimpses of communion with the Triune God. It is only through these glimpses you will receive true peace.