Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Turn-&-Greet-Your-Neighbor Time Could Be Backfiring

[from Awake From Atrophy]

“If we truly believe that it’s essential for us to build real relationships with each other to be a healthy church," Jacob continued, "then I think it’s essential that we build time for that in our services. As I already said, it’s naïve to expect this to happen without our members making a concerted effort. In ancient times, when the practice of eating was dropped from church life, their members came to church from the same community. They lived together, worked together, and already had relationships. But that’s not how life works anymore in the Western world. Most people in America, for example, attend church with people who would otherwise be total strangers to them.”

“I can see that,” Randall said.

“Unfortunately, the typical church design leaves relationship building to the ‘leftover time.’ If you want to build real relationships, you have to come before the services or stay after to connect with people.”

“Well, we make at least some effort,” Drew protested weakly. “Every church I’ve been in has at least the ‘greet your neighbor’ portion, as you called it.”

“Yes, they do,” Jacob returned. “But does that facilitate real relationships? Are people more authentic with each other as a result of that time?”

“Well, no, not really,” Drew admitted.

“You know,” Jessica piped up, “if you think about it, that element might actually have the opposite effect.”

“How so?” Jacob asked.

“Well, I think a lot of people put on a ‘happy face’ during that time,” she explained. “We all end up pretending things are great. We don’t have time for a real conversation and we don’t want to share something vulnerable and awkward about ourselves only to sit down right after.”

“I hadn’t thought about it that way,” Jacob said. “It makes sense, though.”

“It seems like those attempts at relationship building actually make people less authentic,” Randall mused out loud.

[check out the rest of the book at or email me for a FREE e-book version of the book at]

No comments:

Post a Comment