Where We Are Known
We've all just had our pictures taken for the new photo directory. Everyone smiled pretty (or at least tried to), and now we wait for the finished product. Churches make directories so people can put faces to names (and have contact information for those faces). And to me, that's crucial.
A church should be a place where we are known. No one should be able to attend church anonymously. That's one beef I have with megachurches: they may be able to do so much more than smaller churches, but you can slip in and slip out virtually unseen, remaining for all intents and purposes a total stranger. Church shouldn't be like that. As a body, as a family, we should know each other. We should know who loves the fried apple pies Miss Margaret brings to every potluck. We should know who really enjoys acting at the local theater. We should know who got hurt at work last week, who needs help with a project, who is struggling. We laugh together, and we bear one another's burdens.
That kind of knowing requires us to be open with one another, to show love, to be vulnerable, and to truly value the other people in the church. From there we go on to show that love and care to those outside the walls of the church building, offering Christian friendship and sharing the gospel. Point people to a God who knows them completely, who understands them fully -- and who loves them unconditionally. Help people along the path to heaven, the true place we are known and loved.