Heritage Series: Where Everyone Knows Your Name
Nearly a year ago I posted a blog with the same title, Where Everyone Knows Your Name. Cheers struck deep into the American psyche and found its way into the hearts and weekly TV viewing habits of a nation seeking relationship and connection. Even though decades have past this need and search continues unabated. The simple yet profound sermon this past weekend illustrates that spiritual and human connection is both necessary for life and very powerful. As Pastor Ed read the Apostle Paul’s list of special people I could picture Paul deeply appreciating the vital role each played in his life and the furtherance of the Gospel. Paul had impacted the lives of thousands then and millions now. There likely is no other man who has had a greater impact for Jesus than Paul. Yet Paul recounts specifically people who made a difference in his life. Even the great Apostle Paul needed and was encouraged by his relationships.
The TRUTH is we were made for relationships; First, with God the Creator of the Universe and second, with one another. Not having a relationship or having an unbalanced relationship with God, I believe, guarantees having unbalanced or destructive human relationships. Living in right relationship with God under grace goes a long way in giving grace in our human relationships. I think our whole culture and the whole human race could benefit greatly by living together graciously.
In celebrating our history and years of continuous ministry in Visalia we have recounted the growth of our church from a few people attending to thousands today. It is unrealistic to believe GateWay Church is a place where everyone knows your name but it is a place where the “welcome” points to a place where many will know your name. And we have opportunities for smaller “bites” of GateWay where indeed, everyone knows your name. Connect Small Groups is tailor made for this. Another great place for connection is the Choir and Orchestra. We have other possibilities at GateWay.
And finally for today, we are on mission that everyone in Visalia will know Jesus as Lord and Savior. No one will know the names of all 140,000 residents of Visalia but amongst this throng of people there are thousands who yearn to be known by name and be connected in relationship. We all know many around us by name. It is time to invite them to know Jesus and make the introduction. Bring them to GateWay that they may experience a place where everyone would like to know your name. In doing so, you may make the biggest difference in their life. Who knows, when these precious folks recount their “list” you may be the key relationship on it because you invited them by name.