I am continuing my series of posts based off of comments I hear about Mega-Churches.
“But I won’t know everybody.” This is by far the biggest concern I hear as a Church grows or about attending a Mega-Church. For most people there is an enormous concern that relationships will be lost with a Church that has a high attendance.
My response to people who say this is usually two-fold. One, you are right. You won’t know everybody. Two, unless your Church is less than 35 people you don’t know everybody now. Oh sure you may know 100 or more people’s names but I don’t you actually know them. I define knowing someone with two phrases; “you know what makes them laugh” (brings them joy) and “you know what makes them cry” (brings them sorrow). The average person has 12-15 people in their life that they currently know. The other people in your life fall into one of three categories: 1) I don’t know them at all. 2) I only know their name. 3) I used to know them (back when they were little or when we were in class together), but I no longer know them as their life has changed. If your congregation is over 50 people you do not know every one. I am the preacher and I do not know everyone.
After we clear away the facade, I want to underline that there is a difference between “not knowing everybody” and “not knowing anybody.” No matter the size of the Church you attend you need to develop 12-15 deeper relationships. You need to have people who know you and are known by you. These connections can come in a Sunday School, small group, leadership, a ministry team, play group, a card club, an affinity group or any other number of possibilities. No matter the size of a Church an attendee needs to focus their attention on knowing a few people really well. This is the most healthy way to grow as a believer and find joy in your Church relationships.
I see this difference all the time. Someone gets sick and goes to the hospital. They feel sad because no one from the Church came to see them other than paid staff. Upon further discussion I find out this person knows something about everyone at Church and really does not know anyone deeply. There are no deep connections but rather surface relationships and thus no one comes to visit. Then I visit the hospital with someone who has 12-15 deep connections and their room is filled with people all day and night because they have relationships with people who know them and really do care. Their “group” shows up to love and support them and simply show they care.
The hard truth is that I can be a part of a small Church or a large Church and really never connect to anyone. The flip side is also true – I can be a part of a Mega-Church or a smaller Church and have deep relationships. The size of a Church is not the issue. The real issue is will I focus on deep relationships or surface ones? Do I want to know everybody in a shallow way or a few in a deep way? Who have I let into my heart and shared my life with? Who is sharing their heart and life with me? Church relationships have no correspondence to the size of the Church but rather to my willingness to connect to a few others in a deep way. The choice is yours.