Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, August 17, 2009

Higher Math

Let's do the math. 1+1=2. Except in relationships. How many people does it take to befriend a church person? If you walk into the room knowing the drill of church but new to our shop, probably 8 unique contacts from people. If you're a complete stranger and have never been to church before, we need a different formula entirely.

In the old days (did I just call myself old), we had all kinds of gimmicky lines, "Each one, reach one," "Bring a friend Sunday," presuming of course that one person knew everything to say about life, faith, and yes, the ultimate example of your walk with Christ, church attendance.

But what if we had a higher form of math? What if it wasn't an equation? What if we could mix the skills, personalities, and even opinions of people to introduce them to the whole life of Christ? Since no one person has a corner on the market of answers, or the life of Jesus, we need more people talking and engaging one person, rather than one person focusing on a stranger.

Consider the math of our mentoring program called Circles of Concern. This is part of the Knox County 10-year plan to end Homelessness. Here 5 First Baptist folks share life with one person. No one hands out money. They help navigate the waters of utilities, housing, jobs, healthcare. You name it. These friends support. They provide relationships, prayer, and most of all wisdom. No individual can help someone into sustainable living. Five people with a passion can use their networks to invite others into the cause. Instead of 1:1, 1 person helping someone in need, 5 or more help 1 person. It's a 5:1 ratio.

Could you do the math in other areas? Sunday School classes doing life with 1 new member in the church. Parents adopting college students to show them the ropes along the way. Lives touching lives, not 1:1, but as many as needed to spread the load tap the best gifts and skills that people need. That's an equation worth celebrating.

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