Image by khalid almasoud via Flickr
No man cared for my soul
People come to church looking for ligh and warmth! They want to know we care. Good preaching and music may bring them in, but relationships that nurture will keep them coming back. You can feel lonely in a crowd, even one that preaches love and has a 'greet your neighbour' moment in every service. If we kept 10 percent of those who came through our church doors we'd be in constant growth mode.
You say, 'Well, the Bible teaches that if a man would have friends, he must show himself to be friendly.' True, but people bring with them the wounds of their past, the struggles of their present, and the unspoken anxieties of their future. What they want to know is, 'Will you love me as I am, even if I don't fit your mould and change as quickly as you'd like me to?' Often our rigid structure keeps that from happening. [Leaders], if your greatest concern on Monday is 'how many people did we have in church yesterday?' check your heart. You may be more concerned with your own image than meeting people's needs.
Jesus told His disciples, '...I have called you friends...' (John 15:15). Many people are shy, distrusting, and relationally impaired. Our mandate is to make 'friends' out of them, not just bench warmers and financial contributors. The Scripture says, 'Bear one another's burdens...' (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), because a burden shared is a burden lightened. Many of those who come to church aren't looking for profound answers, they just want to feel cared for. When that happens they open up to God's love and miracles take place.
Used with permission from UCB Word for Today. Free issues are available here for the UK and Republic of Ireland.