This morning I spent time at the youth booth at our church in between and after the Sunday morning services. As someone who enjoys observing people, this opportunity provided me with a great vantage point from which to observe my fellow humans. There where several things that caught my eye (no, not girls, actual things!!), but none more than the underlying need that perpetuates much of what we do as humans...relationship!
Relationship is at the core of who we are. We want to be known and to know others. When we come to any sort of social gathering (church or otherwise), those of us that have some sort of connection with others feel like we belong...but those of us who do not, seem to wander around searching for the elusive desire...our Great White Buffalo.
A mom and her two daughters popped by the youth booth to say hello to me. The oldest daughter is already in our youth ministry, but I had not met either her mom or sister beforehand. They introduced themselves to me and we exchanged some pleasant conversation. As they were leaving I was joking around with the youngest daughter about not knowing her name because she isn't in youth ministry yet. She replied, "Yeah, but when I am, you better not forget my name!" Her reply was laced with a little sarcasm, but a lot of truth. In this moment it once again dawned on me that the most important thing we can offer another person is a relational connection. I believe that what truly draws people to know who God really is, is relationship. Jesus told His disciples that the world would know who He was by the way they showed loved to each other...by their relationships. This got me to thinking, how much do we invest in developing relational connections with others? From a church perspective, we invest money in lights, staff, sound equipment, cameras, seating areas, food, effects and other things. But at the end of the day, how much of this stuff helps us to foster relational connections with others?
You know what makes me feel like I belong somewhere? When someone knows my name! Imagine this for a moment...when you walk into a gathering of people (Christian or not) people know your name and extend relationship to you, because that is the primary reason for the group to gather together. Sometimes we lose sight of the entire focus of the greatest commandment that Jesus gave to us...we are called to both love God and love other people, and in God's economy these two pieces are of equal value. Our church gatherings can sometimes focus on the first part of this commandment and neglect (albeit unknowingly at times) the second part. If what we truly desire is relationship, what do we need to do to ensure that this value is something we actually pursue instead of something we can point to and say that it means something to us?
I'm learning more and more about the pursuit of this Great White Buffalo that is relationship...and I can taste a revolution on the horizon. Be the change you wish to see in the world...who's with me?