by Chet Klinger
Almost 75% of church goers say they have significant relationships with other church goers at church. However, this number drops to below 50% when it comes to church goers reaching out to help others grow in their faith. So shows a study by LifeWay Research: http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-church-relationships-missing-something-discipleship
The study tells us that about a third of church goers participate regularly in small groups, Bible studies, Sunday School or some form of adult fellowship that helps them grow together in faith. Around 41% don’t participate in any groups at church. Most everyone has made friends with people at church, but few get together in fellowships. Scott McConnel, director of LifeWay Research, says a “visitor to church may have to meet six people before someone cares enough to get to know them.”
This study does not address how many people are “falling through the cracks,” slipping out the front door or back, never to return to this church or to any church. Such visitors may have attended two or more services and never were touched, approached, or welcomed by a church member or clergy. I joined the church I attend in 1989 because the senior pastor was intentional about welcoming me, remembering my name, and inviting me to come back each time and to get to know more about the church and what the people were doing. Two others went out of their way to welcome me. This happened during a time when I found myself wandering from church to church.
How about established members who are sitting off by themselves between services, or who sit in the back of the church and keep coming anyway, or those who do odd jobs around the church? The shy ones. The quiet ones. Some may feel clumsy or lost being around self-made Bible “scholars” or church socialites or people who cozy up to the preacher. But a little acknowledgement, encouragement, and a sprinkling of being invited to sit down one on one or in a small group goes a long way toward making everyone feel less isolated and lost. Let’s remember to become more intentional with someone next time we attend church, before another one falls through a crack!