Few things are more powerful than a conversation. When we have the opportunity to sit down with someone, face to face, to perhaps learn for the first time their name, where they are from, and what's important to them--this I believe is the essential cornerstone of community.
So as part of our stewardship campaign, What Gift Can We Bring? (which we launched yesterday and continues through November 19th), we decided (OK, I decided) we should try having one-on-ones in worship. Each week, as a response to the sermon, we will be inviting people to get up out of their pews, find someone who they don't already know, and hopefully someone who appears different to you, and sit down with them for five minutes to discuss a particular question. I wasn't sure how people would respond to this invitation, but yesterday they seemed to love it. The questions we asked people to share about were: For what are you thankful to God? And, What gift do you bring to God that you share in this community? People enjoyed talking with each other so much, that when we started the music for the hymn, it took until the second verse for people to get finish their conversations and get back to their seats.
This church, like most I'm sure, has had a long history of giving to the building, the programs and the vision of the pastor. And that's fine--those are all good things to give to. But I know that the thing that keeps people coming back to a church week in and week out, year in and year out, is our relationship with God and with one another. So, I hope that through these one-on-ones you will get to know some of the wonderful stories that I have had the privilege to hear. And I also hope that as we deepen our relationships with God and with each other, our sense of community will be strengthened. What a gift that would be.