One day a professor gave a quiz… I breezed through the questions until the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans this building?”
I had seen her many times, but how would I know her name? As the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade.
“Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.” Adapted from Joann C. Jones
The core of our faith at Wellsville Baptist Church is relationships.
First, and foremost, is our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in Him and through Him that we share life. We are the Church because He knows our names. We cling tightly to the relationship He initiated. The church is a place where He knows everybody’s name.
Sunday worship is as much a family reunion as it is Sunday worship. When outsiders attend (and join) Wellsville Baptist Church, it means adoption, not only in Jesus, but into our family.
- Will we take the time to learn a visitor’s name?
- Will we take them out to share a meal with them and embrace them as family?
- Will we notice if they miss a week or do not come back?
Second, relationships are not perfect. Most families have some dysfunction, and everyone seems to have a ‘Weird Uncle Joe.’ Family relationships can become strained and hurt sometimes lasts for years. In a small town, or a church like Wellsville Baptist, everyone knows your business. They know your habits and your checkered backgrounds. We also know that in Christ all things are forgotten, everything is new. In church, we have a new name, and everyone knows our ‘New name.’
- Will we let people in, or must they prove themselves?
- How long before their past is past?
- How quickly can forgiveness happen?
Third, we lean on one another. Whether it’s the Prayer Chain or the outpouring of our hospitality team, we offer comfort not only in who we know, but what we do for one another. We approach the Holiday Season, a time of thanks and giving. Like the professor in the opening story above, we need someone to hold us accountable for recognizing people. Today, we want a time, just an hour, to slow down and reconnect in worship. Too often we forget, hurting people are sitting around us. There’s nothing sweeter than the moment someone calls our name. It may be the most important thing we do in worship.
- If someone in church was sitting in silent, deep hurt, would you know it?
- If you need help would you call out to ‘Family’ or sit silent not wanting to be a bother?
- We are a Kingdom of right relationships.
This Sunday, and every Sunday, take the time to notice the people who have chosen to be part of our family and know their name.
As your Interim, you have made me feel so welcome. I encourage you to reach out as you have done for me. You gave me a new name… Pastor.