Thursday, May 9, 2013

Signs, Churches and Rapport

What's in a name? Most of us would like to say we don't put much stock in a name. That is the cool way to be--we are able to look past a word and be open minded about things. Is this really true though? I don't think it is. I think we all get caught up in names and labels. I think we especially do it when it comes to churches. I attend Smyrna Church of Christ. One reason I attend there is because, for the most part, I agree with the views and interpretations of the Bible that are taught by the majority of other folks that attend there. The main reason, however, that I attend this church is because of the relationships I've developed over the years that I've attended. I have friends, trusted advisers, mentors, mentees, etc. that know me, love me and accept me as I am. That's a good feeling. I also have a place that I can work and have people work along side me to make others' lives better. That's also a good feeling. At this point, I would not care what name they put on the sign because I know the substance of the people inside the building.

Is that true for others as they relate to my church? I have spoken to many people who have a negative opinion of "churches of Christ" because of some bad experience they had with someone who "represented" to them ALL churches of Christ. Its the cliche "one bad apple spoils the bunch." On the flip side, if I were in a strange place looking for a church, I would probably look for another church of Christ. The likelihood that I would go to a Catholic church or a Presbyterian church is extremely small. My question is why? Why would I choose to miss out on very likely great people just because the sign at the door doesn't have the exact words I am looking for? Does that make me closed minded?

I don't know if it is closed mindedness or just an innate tendency to flock to "like minded individuals". We constantly look for clues, any clues to tell us that someone is like us. We train ourselves to search for similarities when we are trying to build rapport with someone. What if we didn't do that? What if we looked for differences in people and built rapport by asking them to tell us about themselves? We built rapport by listening and learning about people that were different from ourselves.

I know this sounds cool and I know that the majority of people, including me, will not do this. I guess I am just feeling a bit philosophical right now. Maybe there are small ways we can start making this into a character quality. What do you think? Offer some advice on how we can bond with people over differences instead of just similarities. If you think I am completely wrong, tell me that too.

1 comment:

burnsey said...

Including myself, I think we all tend to bond or flock to people we are like minded with. It is easy and comfortable to do so.

From a Christian perspective, I believe that we are called to form relationships with all people who are like minded and those who are not. People who are not believers and don't follow Jesus you might consider "not like minded" since they don't believe in Him. Those are the very people that we are called to make friends with and disciple. During the time of the first century, we read examples of Christians (mainly Jewish believers) reaching out to Gentiles and they were not from that Jewish mindset.

For me now at this point in my life, the most important thing in a church family are the relationships. It's about the people. It's not about how well the preacher preached a sermon, what style of singing,the order of worship, or how many programs are in place. From what I understand, church was community, brothers and sisters in the book of Acts.

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