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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quiet Time: Church Politics 101.3: Know the Nameless

Church Politics 101.3:Know the Nameless

Romans 12:1-3 & 16

- do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. – Romans 12:16

Clicks don’t exist only in schools, they exist in churches too.

In my first year in High School I was a transfer student on special assignment from the East side of Tampa. Most of the kids at the school were from West Tampa, so, obviously, I knew no-one and no-one knew me. I was the nameless odd man out; especially in the eyes of the “cool” kids. But, I knew a secret.

My junior year, I was slotted to become the new bass player in an ambassador show band called Sound System. Basically, it meant instant popularity and special placement within the student body. So, I bided my time and hung out with the only kids who’d accept me; the “nerds”; the nameless. The funny thing is, the more I hung out with the marginalized students the more I liked them. Sure, they were often quirky and obviously different, but they were real - genuine. I guess, because they had nothing to prove and no one to impress. Sometimes I see this kind of separation in churches.

My dad and mom were leaders in the church and that meant I was there every time the doors were open. I’ve also been privileged to serve on staff at several ministries around the Bay. This has given me the ability to notice, that sometimes our churches become large, or at least large enough for people to begin pairing off. Soon these pairs become groups, and these groups become segregated entities via social and economic similarities. Before long, our senior citizens are sitting in one section of the worship center, the youth in another, families with no kids, young kids, and grown kids have their place too. Oh, and of course there're the young singles, college and carrier, and single agains.

It becomes obvious who the “cool” kids are, as well as, where the nameless sit. Some congregants are courted and others are pushed aside. Most of the pastors I know hate this kind of thing and preach against it; but, really, it’s out of their hands. (However, to his shame, I remember hearing a speaker from a mega church say that we leaders need avoid these negative people, because they’ll never change and will on bring us down with them). Yet, God, tells us to search them out. God actually encourages us to hang out with the “nerds”, the marginalized, and the nameless. Because, when we don’t, it means we’ve placed ourselves on a pedestal and although we’d never admit it out loud, we consider ourselves a little more important than them (Philippians 2:3-5).

Well, the big day came. I got my spot in the band and even became leader over the rhythm section the following year. Clubs scrambled to get me on their teams, everybody seemed eager to say, “Hi” to me, and even the cool kids treated me with new respect. But, you know what, only the “nerds” didn’t change. Only the nameless knew my name when nobody else did. Don’t let your church be that way.

A THING TO DO: Do you know the nameless in your church? Look around next Sunday, and ask yourself, who do I not know? Why don’t I know them? Then, make an effort to reach out to them even if they’re not part of your group and by all means, KNOW THEIR NAME! God says they’re worth knowing.

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