The Awkward Path: Meeting People

In this episode Chris talks a cool way to meet others in the church and more relaxed, and less awkward way.


Hi, I’m Chris Laning. And welcome back to “The Awkward Path”.

Now recently my wife and I began attending a new church because we’re trying to find a place where we can get to know some more people and make some friends within the church.

Well this church that we started attending has a program designed explicitly to do that. It’s a simple concept that takes four couples or eight individuals or a mixture thereof, eight people in total, and gives them the charge of just meeting four times in six months to have a meal together. That’s it! Sit down have a meal together four times in a six-month period.

Well, we tried that program and we actually went to the first one the other day. And it was so interesting because we got to meet people there and talk to people there who we probably would have never actually had the opportunity to talk to in church.

Let’s face it, when you’re there on a Sunday morning for a service or Saturday evening for a service,you kind of have other things to do. You’re going in. You’re worshiping. You’re running off to Sunday school or to other small groups. And then you’re leaving to go home and get on with the rest of your day. It’s not the best time to just sit back and have a casual conversation with someone.

But this program actually gives you that opportunity. And we found it so enjoyable because when you’re sitting there having dinner with people, you want to find out about these people, particularly when you’ve never met them before. So you talk. And you learn. And you find out things that you have in common.You also find out interesting things about them.

And the reality is you’re gonna probably remember that. And you’re gonna hold on to that.

Now whether you ultimately
become close friends from this…who knows? But it gives you an opportunity to get to know somebody better outside of the church setting.

I think for those of us who are often awkward in church settings this is actually ideal! Because we won’t feel that pressure. We won’t feel like we have to act all “churchy” or say the right things. We can just relax and be ourselves.

So I would encourage you if you can find a program like that, or convince your church to start something similar. Find ways to interact with people from your church but outside of the church environment. Because if you do that, you’re probably going to make stronger connections. And those stronger connections are going to help you feel more comfortable with the church, and with your walk with God.

For “The Awkward Path”, I’m Chris Laning. I’ll see you next time.

What Makes You Feel Closer to God?

Everyone experiences God in different ways. In this video, Chris talks about some of those ways and encourages you to find and pursue those.



Hi. This Chris Laning from “The Awkward Path”. Now you have to forgive how I’m dressed today.

I was helping my daughter with her Girl Scout Gold Award. She was putting in plants and trees and stuff in the islands of the parking lot of the church she attends. Just kind of bringing a better aesthetic to it.

Well, I wanted to show you this. This up there. That is the steeple of this particular church.

Now I have been someone who always appreciates the architecture of churches. I find the beauty of it. Whenever I visit a new church I want to look at every nook and cranny to get an idea of the gifts and the talents from God that people put into it to express their personal walks with God.

The thing about it is we all find God on our own terms and that’s okay. For me I love again looking at the architecture of churches. I love hearing some really good music from choirs. For other people it’s nature and appreciating nature. Or hanging out with a bunch of people and just you know in community.

The cool thing is that we have so many different options of ways to worship that we just need to focus on finding the one that works for us. Focus on that first. Build your relationship from there.  And then we can work on reaching out to others in different ways. Again, there is nothing wrong with it and just find what works for you.

I encourage you to just go out there try different things and see if there are times that you feel personally more connected with God. And then pursue those opportunities. Again it could be taking long walks in nature. It could be going and looking at the different architectures. It could be listening to different hymns or contemporary music. Whatever works for you.

Build that relationship.  It will give you a starting block.  And we can keep moving from there.

This is “The Awkward Path” I’m Chris Laning.  See you next time.

The Start of The Awkward Path

Welcome to “The Awkward Path”.  It’s a series about the journey to a better relationship with God even when talking about God is uncomfortable to you.


Hi, I’m Chris Laning. And welcome to “The Awkward Path”. Now what is “The Awkward Path”?

Well “The Awkward Path” is a video / blog series about the journey to try to get closer to God when you’re someone who is uncomfortable with some of the aspects that are involved there. Take me for instance. I have been a Christian my whole life. I’ve attended church. I’ve been in the choir. I’ve been choir director.
I’ve been on Administrative Council. I’ve always been involved with a church but there are still things about day to day religion
that I’m just not comfortable around.

You know sometimes I’ll see people in church. If they’re singing a hymn and they raise their hand in praise to me that seems awkward.
It’s great for them but to me it’s awkward.

You know or have you talked to somebody that says “Yeah I know all this bad stuff is happening right now but I’m just gonna put my trust in God. God will
take care of it and we need to rely solely on Him and I’m comfortable with that!” That’s great! I wish I had a faith that strong! And that’s what I’m trying to build but it’s not there right now.

So how do we overcome these things that make us uncomfortable? Get past them so we can get in a closer walk with God?

Well that’s what this whole video and blog series is going to be about. But it’s not just going to be about me. I don’t want this to be, “This is what I do!” I want this to be about you as well. I know I’m not the only one out here who feels like that. So I want you to join in this journey. I want you to share what makes you uncomfortable. I want us to talk about it together. Find ways and strategies to make it more comfortable. To make it feel right. To know that we’re growing closer to God every day.

Now why am I doing the series? You know I was sitting in church a couple weeks ago listening to the
pastor, (on a) totally unrelated subject. A good sermon but an unrelated subject. All of a sudden the idea popped into my head, “The Awkward Path”, a video and blog series.

Now, I don’t know if the idea came from God or just my overactive imagination. I wasn’t sure. Well a couple days later I was talking with my wife we were talking
about our personal walks with God and how we both needed to kind of step the game up a little bit, to get closer to God. And twice she used the word “awkward”. Now, my wife has a great vocabulary but the word “awkward” is just not one that’s normally part of it. Twice she said that in that conversation.
So I told her about the idea that I had and how it had popped into my head and we decided that I should give it a shot. What’s the worst that’s gonna happen?

So I want you to join me again in this walk. I want you to reach out to people you know that feel the same way. Let them know to come and get in on this. I want to hear really what makes you uncomfortable. I want us to discuss it and I want us to find the ways to overcome it and get closer to God. But I want you to subscribe I want you to be a part of it and to join the community, give feedback and let me know what you think and again what your challenges are. So that we can do this together.

My name is Chris Laning. Again, welcome to “The Awkward Path”.