The other thing I hear a lot is that I need to go to church to minister, to find a way to reach out to the people around me.
And I agree. I think a big part of Christianity is in living out my faith through serving other people and showing them love. And I would argue I do minister. Just in different ways.
In many ways, my blog is a form of ministry. Sometimes I talk about silly things like ChaCha and play games, but sometimes I will share things I have learned that I deeply care about. Whether they're God-related or not, I try to teach and encourage those around me by writing about my own experiences, and whenever somebody comes to me and tells me, "I really needed to read what you wrote today. Thank you," that counts as ministry.
Every time I stay up much later than I should have just to chat with a friend who's having a very difficult night and can't go to sleep, that's ministry.
The time I spend in prayer for my friends, that's ministry.
The conversations I have with close friends asking my advice or counsel on something, that's ministry.
The times when I see someone who is kind of obnoxious and not very well-liked, and I try to reach out to them and be their friend when no one else will, that's ministry.
I work very hard to minister to others by being a good friend to people who need one, by being a support system for those who have nobody else. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by life and fail at that, but that is my goal.
As an introvert, I have to be smart about how I divvy up my social energy. The more time I spend involved in ministry "programs," the less time and energy I have to minister to the people already placed in my life. I simply don't have much to spend before it's all depleted and I have nothing left, and then I'm not doing anybody any good.
It's still very difficult for me to find a reason to go to church. Every once in awhile I get a craving to go and do something churchy, but consistent church attendance chips away at me and becomes a social obligation I dread. I'd love to think there's a church somewhere where I would feel completely welcomed, challenged and inspired. But right now I feel those needs are being met elsewhere. Sometimes I'm OK with that, and sometimes I feel guilty... but I never feel like I'm really missing anything. I love the people I have surrounded myself with as my support system. I love the things God teaches about me through my personal Bible times and prayer, the blogs I read, and the discussions I have. I feel, for the first time in a long time, spiritually fulfilled... and it's hard for me to choose to give that up to return to church.