November 09, 2017
Last Sunday I described an idea that we’re going to deploy in the coming weeks called the “Who Do You Know?” board. Today on the blog, I’m going to explain the idea in more detail and hopefully get you excited about what it’s intended to accomplish.
You’re likely familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation, but I’ll give a quick overview anyway. The idea was set out by a member of the “Great Names in History” club, Frigyes Karinthy, in 1929 (research credit goes to Wikipedia, the tried and true way to sound like you did more work than just typing a phrase into Google).
The idea is simple: every living thing is six or fewer steps away from every other living thing. So, for example, I’m connected to Queen Elizabeth II:
I have an uncle who once ran for office with the federal Liberal party;
The leader of that party at the time was Jean Chretien (I have a photo of me shaking his hand at a campaign rally);
Chretien’s Governor General was Romeo LeBlanc;
LeBlanc was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II and was the Queen’s representative in Canada.
Boom. And it only took me four degrees.
Some of you think the concept I just described is silly; others of you are trying to one-up me right now by getting to the Queen in three or fewer steps; others of you prefer to play the equally exciting version, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. In any event, stick with me for a minute here.
The truth is that we all have connections to more people than we realize—it’s why we’ve all said, “It’s such a small world!” So. Many. Times. (And yes, I’m as guilty as the next person.)
It’s fun to think about how outlandish those connections can be (cf. the example of my connection to the Queen, to whom I would never say, “It’s such a small world!”), but let’s think about the more practical applications here.
As a church, we are a body, connected to Jesus, our head, and to each other. We join together to love and serve God and one another so that we can do the work to which he has called us.
We function well as a body when each part of the body is also healthy and fully functional. Here’s how the apostle Paul explains it: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:15-16, ESV, emphasis mine, obviously).
Sometimes parts of the body don’t work because they’re being stubborn and sinful and refusing to pursue righteousness. But sometimes parts of the body can’t be fully functional because of some need that they have, whether that need is physical, emotional, or spiritual.
The problem is this: we all want to be functional, and to show others that we’re functional, and so we tend to hide our needs from the rest of the body. When something comes up that prevents efficient functioning, our first tendency is to amputate ourselves from the body so that we don’t become a drag or a burden.
But that’s not the process envisioned in Scripture.
It seems to me that there should be very few times when a need within our congregation goes unmet. Sure, we’re not a mega-church, but we don’t need to be (remember, I’m connected to the Queen).
That’s where the “Who Do You Know?” board comes into play. Let’s say, for example, that someone in our church is struggling with their finances. You might not be a financial wizard, but you might know someone who has a knack for numbers and can help others create a budget and stick to it.
Being under the burden of financial stress makes it difficult to be fully engaged in the work of the kingdom; by alleviating that need, you’re freeing up a kingdom resource that God can use for his glory.
That’s just one example, but there are many others.
So, here’s my challenge to you. First, if you’re someone who’s being held back from full participation in the kingdom because of some pressure on your life, would you be courageous enough to talk about those challenges? You don’t have to talk about them with a random group of people—you just need to email email@example.com. And if you don’t want your name to go on the board, that’s okay—we can serve as the go-between.
Second, as we get the “Who Do You Know?” board up and running, please make checking it a weekly habit. Take the time to read what’s posted, to think about the connections that you have, and then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. Even if you don’t have a firm answer, an idea might be all that we need.
Church, this is about us loving and serving one another in the spirit of the gospel. It’s about us carrying one another’s burdens. It’s about us loving each other with a brotherly love, and making sure that our body is fully equipped to do the work to which it’s called, to the glory of God and for the good of his kingdom.
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