There’s a question mark in my mind after every Discovery Class. (By the way, if you don’t know what the Discovery class is, it’s the class that allows you to discover more about Peace Church and whether or not you want to join our church family.) That question mark is always there. Know what I’m asking myself? I’m asking, “which one of these people will really connect and be here five years from now serving God, and which will not be?”
You see, as much as I would like for everyone to “stick,” I know that some will not. Now the reason I have a question mark is not because I am mystified about how to make sure new members hang around. That answer is pretty clear. The way that new members become old members is for them to discover intimacy within this body. They have to really get connected.
And the question mark is not about how to get them connected . . . not really. You see, I know that the way that people really develop intimacy is through shared experience. So I watch. Here’s what I find: People who go through a Christmas theater or do a stint at summer camp usually stick. Know why? Because they “share an experience.” And its not just any experience. It’s often a gruelling experience, but it is always spiritually rewarding. When you’re going through hours of rehearsal or sweating through humid nights without electricity, you begin to get close to those people who are rehearsing or sweating with you. And what happens? Intimacy. There is a real connection that takes place.
It’s the same in our spiritual lives. Jesus came to this earth and shared our experience with us. He wept and laughed with us. He saw loved ones die and friends betray. He knows what it is like to hurt. And the way to intimacy with God is through Christ. He shared our experience and made it possible for us to connect with Him. When we say “Our Father in Heaven,” we are speaking through a High Priest who has felt everything we are feeling.