Thursday, March 4, 2010
I loved Legos when I was a kid. I bought them for my kids so I could play with them again. Recently, I heard a speaker (Larry Osborne) compare people to Legos. There are different size legos with different size connections. Different people have a different number of connections available with other people. Some people are much more gregarious and have the desire and time to connect with a lot of people. Others want only 2 or 3 friends.
Each lego piece has a limited number of connections. When it is full, you can't connect it to any other piece unless you pull off another piece. This is also true of people. We only have a limited capacity for connections with other people.
Friendliness is different from connection. We tell the people in church to be friendly. That's good, but not enough. People want more than friendliness; they want friends.
Everybody wants some connections to other people. One of the best helps for long term discipleship is long term relationships. To help "close the back door" of the church, we need to help people develop connections with other people. Some people continue to go to a church where they don't like a lot that is going on. But they stay in that church because that is where their friends are. We all want to have a few friends in church.
Strong ties come from relationships that are long-term, frequent, and vulnerable. After a time, we learn to feel comfortable with certain people and we can tell them things that we wouldn't mention to others.
So how do we help people develop long term relationships? Not by dividing the Sunday School classes or small groups and making people get in a new one every 6 months. Let people stay with their friends. Some will want to move on because they didn't connect. Have opportunities for new groups. Maybe a semester setup would give people that opportunity to try another group. It would also give new people a good time to start in a group. A new person probably has more connection openings.
However you solve this, we have to make a conscious effort and process where we help people get connected. If that lego in your church has no connections to others in church, soon you won't see that lego in church.