November 26, 2014

Pastoral Nuggets: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Brother AaronHis name is Steve Uroz.  (Pronounced Euros.)  Steve is a regular attendee of the Biker Church that meets Sundays at 8:30am at HAWG Heaven restaurant in Hogansville, Georgia.

Steve, who is probably fifteen years my senior, is the kind of guy who always has some sort of mischief going on.  He loves to laugh and cut up with people.  A couple of Sundays ago, he was in rare form.  Before the actual service started, he was lightheartedly picking at everybody around him – including Pastor Randall Hodge.

Well, it wasn’t long until everybody began to pick back!  Soon, he was catching it from all sides. Then, in the midst of this verbal barrage he was receiving, he turned to me with a smile on his face that stretched from ear to ear and said, “I wish everyday was Sunday.  I love getting to come here and be with my friends.  This is the best day of the week for me!”

As I soaked in how profound of a statement he had just made, I told him I was going to write a Pastor’s Column about it.  His only reaction was to flash a sheepish grin at me and say, “Just make sure you spell my name right!”

Steve’s statement struck a chord with me.  It reminded me that we don’t know what others may be going through in the course of their day, week, month, year, or even their life.  We also have no idea how that something we take for granted and think regular, average, routine, or simple, may mean the world to somebody else.

As I pondered what Steve had said I was reminded of the lyrics to the 1980’s sitcom Cheers:  “Making you way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.  Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.  Wouldn’t you like to get away?  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.  You wanna be where you can see; our troubles are all the same.  You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

When it comes to this thing we call church, I’m afraid that somewhere along the way we have bought into a doctrine that teaches bigger is always better and in the end, the church with the tallest steeple, biggest buildings, and the most people – wins.  The only problem with that doctrine is – it just ain’t so!

Several years ago a pastor asked me how many churches we had in the Troup Baptist Association.  I told him how many we had at that time.  (We now have fifty-one churches with a total membership of over 14,000.)  He then asked how many churches I thought were effectively doing the Great Commission (Going into all the world evangelizing) and the Great Commandment (Loving God and your neighbor).

Again, I gave him a number.  He then looked at me with an inquisitive look on his face and asked, “Well, then don’t you think it would make sense to combine some of the smaller churches in the different regions of the association and create larger churches?”  I didn’t hesitate with my answer.  I said, “NO!”  Then, with a puzzled look on his face he asked, “Why not?”  I responded, “Because people are serving God in positions in those smaller churches – who would never do so in a larger church.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am certainly in favor of larger churches – and I know their small groups are intimate – but I have become convinced that in the church world, we need to hear the lyrics of Cheers again: “… Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.  You wanna be where you can see; our troubles are all the same.  You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”

My buddy Steve gets it!  He wishes every day was Sunday so he could attend Biker Church.  Why?  Because of the good food, good singing, or good preaching?  No!  Because there – everybody knows his name!

Just maybe it’s time you started attending a church or small group where everybody knows your name – or perhaps better stated – start attending again!

Brother Aaron    

 

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