Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Calls Us By Name

Romans 9:28

God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. The Message

profileToday’s devotional thought is an observation based on nearly 40 years of ministry.  I hope it makes sense to our readers.  It is based on Scripture but has some personal opinion/experience in it.

Jenna Ryan – after giving her testimony at a recent revival – reminded the congregation that in the end it is about relationships.  As we give and hear testimonies – we are telling and hearing parts of our story and the stories of others.  The more we tell and hear our story and the stories of others – the more we are known and get to know others.  By the way – happy 22nd birthday Jenna!  May this year be the best yet in your spiritual growth and as you and Shaun marry!

It has been my experience that one of the most important reasons people decide on a church family to join is finding a place where they can connect – where they are known.  This shouldn’t surprise us – for years we were told that people are looking for a place where they are known by name if we watched Cheers.  If people want a bar where they are known – surely they would also be interested in a house of worship where they are known.  At least in the smaller to mid-sized church families this would hold true I believe.  Those who want to get their worship on in anonymity usually flock to the larger churches where they can slip in and slip out.

Today’s passage reminds us that God is after relationships.  So many in the church are after numbers.  The push – denominationally – is for larger and larger attendance numbers.  In actuality – growing numerically is a good thing – if we are developing disciples/followers of Christ.  But – if we are merely adding butts in the seats – because our music is better than the next church – or our preacher is more dynamic – or our facility has a coffee-house – or our youth/children’s program is the best in the area – we may find that our growth in numbers is very superficial.  We may find out that our growth is based on a staff member’s abilities rather than on a growing love for Jesus and a deepening sense of family among the people.  When the worship leader or pastor or youth director or other leadership moves on – so might the crowd.  But if our growth is based on relationships – on making disciples/followers of Christ and being with others who encourage us along the way – change in leadership can often occur with little impact on the congregation.  This is not short-changing the impact of good leadership in our staff but rather highlighting the importance of relationships.  Romans 9:28 – God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. The Message

Church growth experts suggest that if someone isn’t engaged in something more than worship within 6 months of attending a particular house of worship – the chance of their leaving is exponentially higher than those who are engaged in relationships.  Next time we have a fellowship event or pass the peace in worship or actually the next time you come to worship – take the time to get to know those around you.  Those who are secure in relationships already – help others become secure as well.  Get to worship early or stay afterward and engage one another.  Learn their story – share yours.  Build family – build relationships.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 13, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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