First Name Basis

I just spent the last two days at our state convention trying to read the name tags of people that I see periodically.  I know I should know their names but I just don’t.  I found myself trying to read the name tags without them knowing I was reading their name tags.  I am so glad I don’t have to do that here.  A friend of mine calls rural churches “first name churches” for obvious reasons.  We know one another very well.  Most of us see each other or talk to one another daily.  The congregation becomes a family made up of families.  We are okay calling one another by our first names.  If that isn’t familiar enough most of us even respond to the nick names we have earned over the years.  Most people around here just call me “Preacher”.  That used to bother me a little until I realized the sentiment behind the title.  When they call me “preacher” they are acknowledging that I have a place in their lives.  When you know people on a first name basis you can’t lead from a distance.  When I drive through our community I know the faces and the names of the people living in the houses I pass.  I know their victories and vices.  I know their ups and downs.  I am with them when they weep and when they rejoice.  The responsibility I feel for my congregation is intense because I know the people behind the names.  I don’t think I would want it any other way.       

Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 2:21 pm  Comments Off on First Name Basis  
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