top of page
  • jkarlson9

The Introvert's Guide to Finding a Church (and Going In), Part Deux: Viewing Habits

Updated: Feb 1

The following article was written without the aid of Artificial Intelligence. It was written with barely any intelligence at all.

It's been a minute, hasn't it? Well, as we discussed before, we introverts like our alone time, which applies to blogging as well as face-to-face interaction. I don't have a source for that, but I'm going with it because conflicting data would ruin my deadline excuse.

When we last spoke, your homework was to surf a few church websites and watch a few videos, with bonus points for live content (points not legal tender- you can try something shady in Oklahoma, but it's on you if things go sideways).

So by now you've had a few viewings and found a church that posts online content on a semi-regular basis. It's time for you to do the same with your viewing habits. Find a web series or topic with multiple episodes, and promise yourself you're gonna view them all.

The goal here is to activate 'habituation', a psychological condition where anxiety decreases with repeated, incremental exposure to unfamiliar or aversive stimuli. We're just applying it to reticence about going to a church service. This proven therapeutic technique will greatly reduce your anxiety. Trust me on this. And for those of you who can't trust me just yet, here's a graph with Apple-Keynote specificity.

So now it's time to start some purposeful, repeated viewing. Are ya ready, kids?

Slow your roll, pardner! Your enthusiasm's great, but what we're going for is a little regimentation, repetition, and time for reflection. 2 Timothy 4:7 says our faith is a race, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. Save the binging for Netflix or Amazon Prime.

  • If the church's web series is completed, set a schedule and intentionally watch a session at the same time - daily or weekly. Your call, just keep to a schedule.

  • If the church's web series hasn't been completed yet, intentionally watch until you get current and then start viewing live. More bonus points mean more scratch-offs in Tulsa (they'll take anything).

And while habituation works its psychological and physiological magic, know that spiritual forces are hard at work here as well. Hebrews 13:15 says to continuously praise the Lord, and your continued, focused exposure to God's Word builds a tension that leads to a recognition of ignorance. God is not calling you dumb. But He is planting a seed of cognitive dissonance in your mind that makes you want to learn more about Him. This in turn produces a genuine desire to learn and study the Word more, even in the company of other believers.

This desire is every bit a habit as it is an emotion. We're just forming your habit in the comfort of your own home, getting you familiar with the people and the places you will encounter later one day. You already wanna go, we're just making it less exhausting.

And if you don't have any extended content to watch, you can do what I did. I watched a series on Cults, which was a great way to learn what my church, City On A Hill believes by way of some very bad examples. Viewing regularly lets you focus on the message and what this church believes.

If that's too creepy, try "Putting Together the New Testament", which explains all the wacky things in The Bible that don't make sense (but actually do). Lots of episodes here, so bring the Snickers but keep the jar on the shelf. Please. I barely snuck that one past my editor.

The whole process could take weeks or even a few months. Remember, we're working at your pace. I don't encourage you to hurry, only to hurry up and start. When you're done, I promise you'll have a familiarity with the pastors and people in your chosen church. You will also have formed a real -but tenuous- habit for worship and praise. You may even know a few inside jokes and how the church goes about its business. And the reason I haven't mentioned your anxiety yet is because there's less of it now.

God is physically in that building whenever two or more people meet together in his name. You're missing out, and I don't want that for you.

Next Time: Preparing to GO IN. Don't lace up your skates yet, but have them ready.

During Covid, the author rediscovered Post-vaccination he snuck into a service and felt zero social pressure.

He's a member now and everyone knows he sucks at small talk. They don't care: it ain't that kind of church.



bottom of page