Where Are They (You)?

So many people – good people – church people – Christians – stop coming to Bible class.  Many stop attending special activities of the congregation.  Eventually, some even stop assembling for worship.  Why?  Where are they? (Where are you? if you fall into this category.)  I am sure there are hundreds of reasons why.  I discussed this in one of my early blogs – Why are Members Exiting Churches? – however, there is one “reason” I regularly hear from those who stop attending – “I don’t have any friends (know anyone) there.”  I can take care of this reason for you with two suggestions.  One to the church and one to you . . .

Church – listen up!  People want to be with friends.  We can help!  We can have scheduled and impromptu gatherings at the building, in homes, in parks, etc.  where Christians and their friends get together for fun friendly fellowship.  We can reach out to our guests and include them in our conversations.  We can introduce them to others at our assemblies and help them form acquaintances that can develop into friendships.  We can make all of our gatherings a welcoming event.  This means we may have to catch-up with those we normally see at a later day.  That is why we have cellphones and internet.

Guests and those who say you are not attending for lack of friends.  Let me be as kind and understanding as possible and say compassionately, “Try and make some friends.”  Someone I know was a guest a congregation while on vacation.  He could not believe how unfriendly the people he sat near were.  They did not speak to him, they barely acknowledged his presence.  Finally, he decided to introduce himself and force them into friendliness.  When he did, they seemed relieved, and stated so.  They were guests as well and thought he was an unfriendly member.  Here is the point.  Don’t walk in late and leave early.  Be here long enough for people to have an opportunity to meet you.  Where we worship there are folks at the building 30 minutes before assembly and some stay nearly an hour after having conversations and sometimes walking the parking lot for exercise.  Come join us!

– Scott

7 thoughts on “Where Are They (You)?

  1. Well said!
    I tend to purposely look for those who look bashful, maybe unkept, long haired men maybe with long long beards, and/or poor looking to greet. Sometimes I’ve had to run them down in the parking lot to make sure they knew I care.
    My reason for looking for those who look like they might feel they are out of place: First, because Jesus did. Second, my brothers had and one still has long hair and long beards. (Looks like ZZ Top. : ) It was made known to them by many in many ways that they were being inappropriate.
    Two came back out of four, one at an older age. My brother, Rodney Bernard Howard, came back to the Lord just before he was murdered at the age of 20. He turned to people that gave him attention. He began to do drugs with them and became addicted. Through much turmoil for him and for the family we watched him slip away.
    Praise God, he came back home, got himself clean, went to the elders confessed his sins. He was even going to help the law by turning some big drugs dealers in. Unfortunately, he trusted someone he shouldn’t have and he was hit in the back of the head with such a strong force he was kill instantly. Basically, nothing has ever been done to catch his murderer(s). Even Unsolved Mysteries contacted my mother a few years ago.
    I was 12 when he died, on November 1, 1969. It took me 7 years before I could say his name without bursting into tears. As I became a mature Christian I was finally able to pray to God that the murderer(s) be touched by a loving Christian that would prick their hearts deep enough and turn them to the Lord. If not they be caught and punished for their crime. Either way I knew God would take care of them at some point in time. I just don’t want this to happen to someone else.
    I don’t tell this story to many, because I still break down. I do use it as a lesson for those I feel will benefit from it and maybe turn their life around. I shared this with my children. I said, “If you never start something bad … you never have to stop.” Neither my children or myself are perfect. Far from it, but none of them do drugs.
    Praise Lord God Almight they rolled that stone away!

    • Wow! Denise, I have known you for how long and had never heard you tell that story? I appreciate the faith you demonstrate in praying for the murderers. That is a difficult prayer and action. We do need to reach out to those who many would avoid. Thank you for opening up to us.

      • Thank you for touching so many hearts through your service to the Lord. I think it makes sometimes too insistent on doing what is right. Maybe good, maybe bad. Still it is who I am. A child of God.

  2. Research shows that one of the things new Christians need to keep them connected is at least 5 “friends” in the first few months of their Christian walk. God always takes the first step; so should his people. Thanks for the good words!

    • I remember reading and hearing that 5 connection rule before. It is very important that we as Christians provide a warm loving, and welcoming atmosphere when we assemble. Whether that assembly is for eating, studying, simple devotionals, camaraderie, or worship. Thanks for the reminder of five connections.

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