We have many members who attend our church only for a period time like 1-2 years. Therefore, we have sometimes 2 to 3 members that leave here back to Korea or to other states in a week. Some among them come to receive prayers before they leave during the worship service so their names are posted on the church bulletin. But in most case, they leave without letting me know. When I only come to know that someone has left us through ministry diary of the Shepard, I become somewhat disappointed in my heart. Even if they may have been with us short time, how can they not even say ‘good-bye’ to their pastor? They could have come forward during the worship service to receive prayers before they leave, or at least wait till the end of the service to simply say good-bye. If they were too busy to do that, they could have at least made a phone call or sent me an email. This feeling is same when I hear of past members of our church that visited us for a few weeks without saying anything to me.
When I asked my wife about this, she explained that maybe they are thinking that “how our senior pastor could know me? I don’t want to bother him…” With her explanation, I began to understand. A church with our size of membership may not expect that the senior pastor would know all the members, and individual members may think that it is impossible for them to know the senior pastor personally. And since our church has so much movement among members, it may be reasonable for the members to think the senior pastor may not know them.
But in reality, it is not true. Because I am praying for each member for a considerable amount of time, I come to know each member personally in my position. When someone visits our church and meets with me after the worship service in the newcomer’s welcoming room, I begin to pray for the visitor, and when he registers to worship with us, I begin to pray for him during each early morning-prayer time. The person may not know this, but I come have a feeling of closeness to him through my prayers. On top of that, if they take the Living Life Bible Course from me, I pray for them once a week. When I read the Mokja’s report, I pray for each member of at least two Ranch groups each week using the content of reports of Mokja.
But more than anything, I develop closer relationships with the members when they come to the front to re-dedicate themselves during the worship time. I will use the dedication card to pray every day of a week, but if there is a special prayer topic, or a special circumstance for the re-dedication of a person, I pray each day of the week for that person and I develop a close relationship with that person in my mind. For those of you who joined our church under previous senior pastor, I encourage you to re-dedicate yourself during one of the worship service to develop a personal relationship with me. This is why I feel sad and disappointed when someone leaves without saying good-bye since I feel I have come to know each member in a personal way and have prayed for the member for a considerable amount of time.
So please do not think that I do not know you well, and come to me to say good-bye when you leave. Also when you come back to visit our church, please take time to share a greeting with me. When that happens, our church will become that much more warm-hearted church and you
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