It’s been really fun lately on Sunday mornings at North Creek. We are in a new building and we’ve had a flood of guests come to visit. I find myself looking around and thinking, “Am I in the right place?” It’s fun and refreshing to be around that much change. Every person who walks in the door is so thrilling for me! “Who are they? What is their story? What do they bring to the table? What part will they play in our story?”
Along with all of those questions, comes the most important question, “What is their name???”
I work at a homeless shelter about once a month and I met a new lady this week. Later that night, after only meeting me once, she called me by my first name. What a strange moment that was for me! A woman with literally nothing but the clothes on her back made me feel so valuable. The irony was obvious. Social status, worldly possessions, and education faded away at that moment. I was humbled and honored that she cared enough about me to remember my name.
I’ve heard so many people in my life say, “I’m not very good with names!” And I don’t buy it for a minute. I don’t buy it because I used to say that, but after realizing how valuable people’s names are, I decided to work on it. And the result has been stunning. I simply look at people for what they are now…important. So important that I work very hard to remember them…and to pray for them throughout the week. People are valuable and I want them to feel that way!
Not only am I working on it, but North Creek Church as a whole works on it! Collectively we try very hard to remember people and get their names down. We are not perfect at it, but our stats are pretty good! And rarely does a Sunday go by where I don’t hear the phrase, “Man! You remembered my name! That’s the third person to call me by name and I’ve only been here one week!”
I know in that moment, that just as my new friend at the homeless shelter had my attention, that we have theirs. Not because we are the perfect church, but because we know that people are important and valuable. And the old song from the sitcom Cheers runs through my brain…”where everybody knows your name…” How funny that we are in an old bar!