Communication is a big thing at my church. A monthly list of activities is posted on a card that is placed on the back of the seats in the auditorium. Also on the card are contact numbers and emails for church staff. The same list of activities is also beamed via video on the church’s multi-media screen after the first worship song is completed in each week’s service (2 per Sunday morning). The video is produced by the associate/youth pastor who tries to make it entertaining as well, although most of the time he just reads what the events are. Yet even when he just reads the list he just has this knack of making it entertaining so you like to watch the 4-5 minute presentation.
The church also has a website with a calendar of events, past sermons, donation information, a map and directions to the church, etc. Chances are your church has similar ways to communicate to you.
My church also places communication cards in the auditorium seats so that I can communicate to the church staff. I can provide prayer requests. I can provide my contact information so they can send me communication emails and letters. It is pretty easy to stay in touch with what is happening at my church. All it takes is a little effort on my part.
But that is not all. So far all I’ve described are impersonal, detached ways to communicate information between my church and me. But there are personal invitations as well. There are folks in polo shirts throughout the church before, during and after services who greet me. They ask me my name and give me theirs. It seems in no time at all everyone on the staff knew my name! Even the senior pastor stands at the entrance of the auditorium to greet me and others! (This is impressive. I’ve been to churches where the pastor is nowhere to be found before or after services – probable because of the volume of people who want to speak with him. Or maybe he’s shy. Who knows?)
That might not seem like much but it really is. I’m terrible at names but I appreciate it when others remember mine. I feel this is the first step in a personal connection that, if I choose, I can pursue and develop. Before long I’ll remember perhaps half of those staff people’s names, only because I’m so bad at that discipline, but just knowing that they know mine is important and impressive to me.
Think about it this way: what if no one at your church knew your name or anything else about you? Would you feel welcome? Would you even want to pursue a relationship with any of the members or staff at that church? I can’t speak for you but I can speak from experience; if no one asks me my name and remembers it, I will not pursue a relationship with people at that church. Now I may attend for a short time because I like the worship service or the preaching, but within a short period of time I’m history and looking to connect elsewhere.
But there is an area of communication that I’m not seeing at my church. This could be because I’m still a bit new or because it doesn’t get in the monthly list of activities on the calendar. I’m thinking of “shut-ins.” I don’t know if my church is communicating and developing relationships with those whose health affects their ability to attend church. Now I’m disabled and a step away from being a “shut-in” as, technically, we all are, but I can still get to church.
Through my insurance, I have a mobility scooter that lets me get around my neighborhood, which includes my church. I have people who can drive me to church, though I need a special chair to sit through a service. Nonetheless, there are Sundays when “the spirit is strong but the flesh is weak” and I can’t go to church. On those Sundays I often think of others who want to but can’t make it to church. That is why I spent so much time in the beginning of this blog writing about communication, connection and personal relationships.
What are our churches doing for the shut-ins?
It’s an important question and I think I’ll ask one of those staff people at my church in the polo shirts. What about you?
Perhaps a better question is, “What can I do for the shut-ins?” Now that’s how a mature disciple of Jesus Christ would approach this subject, right? If I’m part of the church, a member of His body, and I’m thinking and asking this question, perhaps it’s the Head of the church, Jesus, getting me in gear to do something. What did Isaiah say when the Lord asked, “Who shall I send?”
You get the picture.
For His glory,