They Can’t Get Out
In his opening sermon at our Annual Conference this year, Bishop Keaton named two groups with one quick passing comment. I whipped out my pocket notebook and scribbled down both groups.
The Shut Ins was the first group.
Let’s be honest: no matter how much your pastor tries, it’s never going to be enough.
There will always be someone who was active in your church years ago but by now has slid off the radar.
There are people who quietly but faithfully came to worship and maybe even Sunday School. Something happened and they got out of the habit.
There are people who claim your church as theirs because they joined you for worship on Christmas Eve not long ago. It really wasn’t that long ago, maybe just five or ten years ago, right?
You and I could go on and on naming people and their situations and reasons and why they’re part of The Shut Ins. But like what we try to do as pastors, that’s never going to be enough.
Pastors come and go, especially in our United Methodist way of doing things. But you have a history, however long and however deep, with The Shut Ins of your church.
You’ve been thinking of someone as you’ve been reading this.
Pick up your phone and call that person. See if there’s a time this week you could go by for a visit. At the very least, let her or him know that your church remembers and cares.
Maybe you’ll learn something that would be helpful for your pastor to know; please share that with her or him.
And I’d love to hear how this part of your ministry goes.
See you back here tomorrow as we think together about the second group our Bishop mentioned.