When “Jim” came to me with a complaint about the church, I was typically distressed. His complaint went like this; “I can’t make friends at this church. I’ve been here almost three years and I feel like nobody knows me. On Sundays, when service is over I’ll just stand there and nobody will talk to me”. I of course suggested that instead waiting for people to come talk to him, he reach out and initiate a conversation with somebody else.
This didn’t seem to go over that well with him, and he walked away still disgruntled.
At a leadership meeting later that week I brought it up, and the general response was “Who’s Jim?”
This issue continued to plague me, and in fact, I heard the same complaint from another person shortly thereafter. Did I need to preach a sermon on friendliness? Was our congregation simply unfriendly? What was confusing for me was that I had never had any problem making friends at our church, or any church I had been a part of.
Then one day, God made it clear to me what the solution was, and it came in the form of a couple by the name of Victor and Jill.
The first day I noticed Victor, he was sweeping up after a Sunday service. I went over to introduce myself and thank him for his service. When I asked him how long he had been attending our church, I was shocked when he said it was only his second week with us!
Even more interesting was what happened at a leadership meeting a couple of weeks later. One of our leaders was looking for a volunteer when somebody suggested he contact Jill. “Oh, Victor’s wife?” was the response. “I already have them signed up for something that day”.
That started a brief conversation about what a great couple Victor and Jill were and how helpful they were. But one thing was glaringly obvious; after only three weeks at our church, every single leader knew Victor and Jill.
As it turned out, Victor worked for Fedex, and could move around the country pretty much at will. Because he was a surfer, they typically found locations where there were good waves. Their modus operandi was to move every two years, and in Victor’s words “find a church to serve in that place”. And boy did they serve! They signed up at almost every opportunity and could constantly be found manning a desk, pushing a broom or driving a van full of kids.
And the result? When their two years were up, and they were planning to leave (much to our sorrow!), we threw a farewell party for them that was attended by over 200 people! I never did ask them, but I’m pretty sure if you asked Victor and Jill if our church was a “friendly” church, their response would be something along the lines of “Huh? Of course!”.
So now when people come ask me about how to get “involved” or make friends at KCF, I say “Well, start by picking a broom on Sunday mornings!” And then I tell them the story of Victor and Jill.
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