Dear Friends,

It is easy for a church to drift into becoming a crowd on Sunday. It might be a large crowd of thousands or a small crowd of dozens, but it is still a crowd present to observe a performance. People are in the room together but make no attempt to know or be known by the other people in the room. It is also easy for a church to become a clique or a set of cliques. Those who call a clique church their own are so focused on friends and family that they do not truly welcome guests. Often clique churches also talk like vampires. Members say to each other, “What we need around here is some new blood.” Whether we are small or large, we need to pray God will deliver us from being a crowd and a clique. Here are four things to pray and think about.

First, please pray that we will deepen into community and not unravel into a crowd. We do not want to be a community united by politics or race or culture or music or taste. Pray we will grow into a community centered on, and built upon, Jesus and His saving death upon the cross. Pray we have a desire to connect with each other as we desire to connect with Jesus.

Second, please pray that people in Messiah will develop one or more significant relationships with people who call Messiah their church home. Jesus loved all the disciples, but He had a closer relationship with Peter, James and John. Pray that people in Messiah will develop close relationships with a few people as they develop a close relationship with Jesus. It is important for us to have a person or persons whom we come to know and who know us.

The third prayer is very important if we are praying into the first two matters. The first two prayers are prayers of deliverance from being a crowd. The third is a prayer of deliverance from unraveling into cliques. Please pray that God will make us deeply welcoming. Pray that as we learn to welcome Jesus more deeply into our life, we will learn to welcome guests and newcomers into our lives and into the community. Pray that we notice the person standing by themselves. Pray that we will walk across the room to say “hello” and talk and introduce. Pray that we will always prepare an “empty chair” or “place at the table” for the new guest who arrives.

Finally, please pray that God will draw people here who desire to know Jesus and be known by Him. Pray that we will be a people who invite and connect, all to the glory of the living God!

George +