I'm an avid reader. Some months I'm all about a good story & some Christian fiction, then I shift into the nitty gritty practical aspects of living out my faith through authors like Francis Chan, Jen Hatmaker, Craig Groeschel & Steven Furtick. And I'm always getting something in my inbox from various sources.
Oh, and somehow I went from one magazine subscription to about four free subscriptions this fall. Those are piling up in my living room because I also started a part-time job this month after being a stay-at-home mom for the past six years. I think my leisure reading days are over!
Ran across this article on demonstrating community to others via the (in)Courage Christian women's website. Community has been their focus the past week or so. Themes and big picture ideas are great, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of the simple and the practical.
It seems to me nearly every person I talk to who is new to First Mennonite Brethren Church identifies the same "thing" that made our church click with them. I always like to ask, "What brought you back after your first visit?" Every time it's been, "Everyone was so friendly. Everybody I met was just so nice."
Wow. I wouldn't expect that to be something that sets a church apart! For some reason, in some manner, our community has extended a hand of friendship in a very immediate and real way. And that's resonating with people. I'm proud to be part of a church community who is connecting with people on Sunday morning in this way. I know some visitors must come and go and don't feel this friendliness at all and that makes me sad, though I know we can't be perfect.
So here's a couple ideas from the article to keep us on track for extending friendship beyond Sunday mornings into the real lives of the people we "do" church with. Moms we "do" Carelink with. And all the other people we "do" life with week in and week out.
1. Bring food: an afternoon Sonic slush; bowl of soup for a sick friend; meal for a family.
2. Offer to watch someone’s kids (or pets!): an offered afternoon of babysitting goes a long way in helping a friend have time to unpack a few boxes or get a few errands run.
3. Send a card: who ever gets real mail these days? Thinking of someone? Give them a 5-minute phone call, quick email. Means a lot more than just telling them, "Hey, I was thinking of you the other day."
4. Run errands: Are you heading to the store tomorrow & know a friend who's a little housebound? Make a quick call and an offer to pick up a few things for her. After all, you're going there anyway.