When the person beside us disappears, do we care?
I’ve been thinking recently, as I do periodically – how is that we let people disappear without protest?
What is it that makes it such that the majority of us will do absolutely nothing when someone disappears? There are times that I’ve disappeared from church and other groups, and apart from recently, mostly I haven’t even been contacted.
I think sometimes we just don’t know what to do, or how to make contact with someone, even perhaps what to say. So here’s some simple things to say:
- Hi, hope you’re well, missed you today, everything ok?
- Just letting you know that we missed you today. Coming back soon?
- Coffee soon?
- [insert bad joke here]
- Just letting you know – I see you friend. Hope to see you soon!
- How are you?
The second factor here is, perhaps we don’t see we have any role to play with other people. After all, isn’t that what the church staff are paid to do? Aren’t we interfering with the pastoral process somehow if we contact them? In many church cultures, this is a pretty normal belief structure, and it often goes unchallenged. Are we even seeing our own potential, gifts and callings the way God wants us to?
But whatever, if Joe has disappeared, can I suggest: be community. Represent Jesus for someone. Perhaps a kind word from yourself will save a heart a lot of pain. Be what you would like someone to be for you if you were struggling. Reach out with a kind word and make sure they feel included and loved and important. You won’t regret it.
If you want somewhere simple to start – check on one person a week, just with a short message. If there’s nobody to check on, send them a short text to tell them they’re awesome and that you appreciate their friendship (or whatever is appropriate).