Last Sunday we started including the registration of attendance in the bulletin itself on the backside of what has become the commitment section. The commitment section gives you two or three actions items to respond to for the coming week. There is always one prayer request. We’ve had some very positive response to this section and then some Sundays not so much.
The intention for this commitment section is to encourage all of us as Eugene Peterson puts it in his translation of the Bible entitled, The Message. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!” (James 1:22) I believe practicing and holding ourselves accountable to these “commitments” is one important way to act on what we hear. And I’ll just say it, I believe each one of us can commit to praying about something specific and related to our congregation’s life together.
The other change last week was that we took away the attendance pad and provided the opportunity for people to sign in on the back side of our commitment section. The responses we got from a couple of those who wrote on this back side all made a statement like: I miss passing the book down the aisle so I get to see the names of who is sitting next to me.
It’s a great question. And yes this is something that will be different about registering our attendance. Let’s look at some things this asks of us and what is behind this change.
First, if I may say the obvious, it encourages all of us to wear our name tags. Just sayin’.
Second; If you have someone sitting near you or in your pew you don’t know, and they are not wearing a name tag, this is a great excuse to go ahead and ask that person’s name when we welcome one another. I know not everyone is comfortable doing that, but those of us who are willing to take the chance or who are comfortable with this will help us to get to know one another better. We are a church big enough not to know everyone’s name, small enough to want to.
In a few weeks we will have perforated paper for our bulletins so that tearing the registration and commitment sections off will be much neater and easier. This simple act, which every one of us can do, is a way of reminding our selves that the faith we celebrate is not only something God does for us, it is also how we are “doing” for others. So take the time, fill out your registration, mark your commitments for the week, and have something to place in the offering plate even if you gave to church in another way.
Keep the Faith,