Yesterday at church I announced the move to two worship programs this fall. Most people greeted the message with understanding as this has been a topic for several months. The biggest concern was stated in the words, “but we aren’t going to know everyone.”
This is the fourth time I have led a Church to add a second program. I helped a congregation years ago in Indiana move not only to two different times but also two different types of worship. Then later I helped the Church I led in Iowa add a second program two separate times over eight years as we continually changed facilities.
With every adjustment, I was greeted with the same basic question: How are we going to know everyone?
Today I want to respond to this issue on two different levels.
1.You don’t know everyone now. The numbers just don’t lie. The average person can know the name and a general piece of information about 175 people. An above average person can push that number up over 250, but the details begin to get sketchier. I have told people that I would bet them I could bring up several people in front of the congregation and a large group would have no idea who they were or anything about them. Knowing about people is not the same as having a meaningful relationship. In fact, it is often a fake substitute for the real thing.
2. The goal is not to know everyone. The Church was never designed to be a place where you knew one or two pieces of information about hundreds of people. The Church is a place where you are to develop deep, meaningful relationships with a few people. Jesus modeled this in his ministry. He had 12 disciples, and within them, he had three that he favored (Peter, James, and John) and of those three John calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
My goal is for everyone to know about several people. Then within that group, to develop a few people who are more than acquaintances. This is usually about 10-15 people. Out of that group, there are 2-5 people you are really close to you personally. These people know what makes you laugh and what makes you cry. They know what brings you joy and what hurts you. Then within the smaller circle, you have one or two people with whom you can bare your soul.
Sunday morning is a time in which the Church gathers to worship together and expose ourselves to some like-minded people. Connections will happen in smaller settings. They happen in Sunday School and small groups. They happen as we serve side by side with people in a ministry. They happen over conversations in the kitchen. They happen when we invite other people into our home.
Honestly, I am not the least bit concerned about you knowing everyone. This often gives the appearance of having relationships while no one ever really gets to know us. Knowing about people is not the same as knowing people. The Church is a place where real relationships exist between believers for the betterment of everyone.