One thing I enjoy about playing the drums is that I have a very good seat to see the “mood” in the entire Reach Center before and during our worship time. This mood can vary greatly from energetic to kinda ho hum, and sometimes both on the same Sunday. Sometimes, different sides of the room have a totally different feel at the same time.
There is one specific time every Sunday, however, that is full of smiles, greetings, laughter and just joy; that time being the “welcome those around you” time. Immediately after Dale or Brad or whoever says “now let’s take a minute and welcome those around you” the entire place just comes to life with all of the aforementioned actions. You see people leave their seats and go hug someone or laughter over something relevant only to those involved. People smile and shake hands. Others may be planning their evening together and some share encouragement to those broken by life (but you’d never know it due to the mask we must put on when we enter God’s House).
I truly enjoy watching this from the “30,000 ft view” because no one notices the drummer during this time, which is a perfect opportunity to observe the small details that would be overlooked easily. This fellowship is vitally important to having strength in Christ because, well, strength comes in numbers.
Example, I once heard a message preached about how lions and wolves hunt. You’ve seen the shows on Nat-Geo and
Animal Planet (you know with the British or Australian narrators) with these predators on the hunt and how they follow a similar strategy; which is to single out one from the pack and take it down. If the kill is not immediately effective they will chase, wound, fatigue, and just keep the prey away from the group. The lions and wolves rarely go after an alpha male or the matriarch female. The reason... strength comes with numbers.
The preacher then paralleled this to our faith by asking which person is more likely to become prey, the one who attends church regularly and is active within that church, or the one who is “kinda” there? He went into more depth than this with all kinds of principles, but I want to focus on this only. You see the ones who gather regularly are in the group, but those who are “kinda” there are falling away from the herd, and the further they get the more vulnerable they are to attack. This attack is not physical but spiritual.
So, the spiritual is where we need strength and being with other Christians is one way to find this strength. Just being with the masses is one thing, but finding a few solid friends in Christ takes it to a new level. This is why I enjoy the Welcome Time so much. Because I see people making acquaintances, and shoring up already strong foundations. People are refreshed and encouraged, even if it’s only 20 seconds. Then we hit the tracks and we're off into worship, as it reverts back to the “mood” that’s in the room (this mood is an odd thing sometimes which I could expand on further but we have not the time).
So, how bout this: the next time you get to “welcome those around you” you go and bear hug someone or just speak a kind word because you never know how close the predators may be.
I Say Go For It!