Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friendship and Fellowship Should Not Be Temporary Assignments

A little over a year ago, I posted this - and I feel like I should re-post it now.  I hope that decision was inspired and that it helps someone:

I don't reach out to anyone any differently than I reach out to everyone - unless I feel impressed to do so on an individual level. I smile at everyone; I talk with everyone; I hug or shake hands with everyone; I flirt with all of the older widows (and many of the older non-widows, whose husbands love it); I play with all the kids; etc.

I am bothered more than I can express whenever I hear someone talking about someone else as a "project" - as the focus of something that has to be done. I believe the best help I can give anyone is to get to know them and sincerely befriend them. That's when I can usually get the best inspiration about how I can help them.

I think if we truly knew, loved and accepted everyone simply as a natural extension of our "love orientation", "activation efforts" would be simply a part of that perspective - not separate activities that need to be carved out of our schedule. That is the ideal.

To be clear, I have NO problem with thoughtful and careful consideration about how to reach and help someone - or to whom to reach out and try to help, but I don't like ulterior motives. "Coming back to church" will happen when someone feels drawn to return, for whatever reason, but it generally happens best or most lastingly when it's not a temporary focus that stops when an objective has been achieved.

If I were in charge of activation efforts, I would say, basically, "I feel like __________ needs a friend right now. Go be that friend. If she is interested in returning to activity or not, be a friend. No matter what happens with other callings and assignments, don't stop being her friend. This isn't a temporary assignment; treat it like a life-long request."

1 comment:

Richard Alger said...

"treat it like a life-long request"

I love this. I am sure that this is what the spirit of home teaching and visiting teaching is.