I'm new to this site and I joined hoping to meet new friends and hopefully grow in my faith. To start off, I am 16 years old and have started going to church nearly every Sunday for the past 9 months. I never went to church before that, not because I didn't want to but because I didn't have the chance.
Both my mom and I are new to our church community, even though we've been going for 9 months it doesn't seem that long. Our church is HUGE. About 10,000 people attend our church. It's not one of those small chapels, it is very large. My mom and I do not attend the same service. Our church is divided into; English Service (adults), Youth Service (13-18 year olds), Children, Nursery (Babies/Toddlers). So obviously, my mom is attending the adults and I'm attending youth.
Being new to a church community is like being the new kid at school. I have never been a new kid at school however. The first time I switched schools was when I transitioned to high school, where I still got to see my elementary friends do that doesn't really count. I feel like I am experiencing what it's like to be a new kid for the first time. Not to mention, I suffer from social anxiety disorder so it is extremely hard for me to get out there and meet someone new. When I first came to my church, one of the pastors led me to 4 people the exact same age as me to make me feel welcome and told them to sit with me in service and get to know me and all that kind of stuff. The problem is, they go to the same school together. They've known each other for YEARS and I barely know them. They talk about stuff that I don't even know about and don't share interests with me. Whenever we're together they all talk about stuff and I'm just sitting there awkwardly like the "fifth wheel". Sometimes, I don't even sit with them in service. I only do when I see them. And even when I do see them, it's more like, "Hi!", sits in service and listens to pastors talk, "Bye!", then one week later and the same thing happens.
There has been times where I sat completely alone by myself at service. And for someone who has social anxiety like myself it is excruciatingly embarrassing. I hate being SEEN alone. I don't hate being alone. I hate it when people SEE me alone. I think that fear comes from the fact that I don't want people to judge me I don't want people to think I have no friends and think I'm a loner. Every week, I get major panic attacks about having to sit alone at church and feel humiliated. I know to most of you, it seems like I'm worrying for nothing but for me my anxiety is so intense that I lose control of my fear and I start crying. I also know a lot of you might tell me I should just meet new people but I feel like the people are the same at school where everyone is divided into their own group or "clique" and they exclude everyone else. It is super awkward for me to randomly go up to that person over there at the wall and just say "hi". There is no way I can do something like that and that is also considered to be very creepy.
Sorry if I bored you over this long essay. I want to be able to attend church so I can learn more about God but I also can't because I have so much anxiety and feelings of loneliness and just worshipping all alone. I feel very alone. I have no friends at church. I need help. Thank you to everyone who wants to help me!
Also please feel free to send me a message I would love to meet new people considering the fact that have no friends at church.