What if the Church was more like Freinds?
What do Cheers and Friends have in common? True, they were popular television sitcoms, but that was not the answer
I was seeking. The real answer lies in their theme songs. In a previous church that I pastored,
one of my members told me that every church should adopt as its motto these words from the
Cheers theme song: "Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."
I heartily agree, don't you? In a nutshell, those theme song words can be reduced to one word: fellowship.
King Street Baptist Church should be a haven of true fellowship, a safe place where we know one another by name,
not just by face, and where we are always happy to see one another, again and again. Are we living
up to that theme song, or not?
So much for Cheers. Now let's turn to Friends, whose series finale recently
aired on May 6. In the 27 April 2004 issue of the Christian Week newspaper, one of the main articles,
written by Steven Ibbotson, is entitled "What if the Church was more like Friends?" As you may know,
the Friends theme song closes with these words: "I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too."
Mr. Ibbotson states in his article: "The friends support one another in their daily lives and special occasions.
In a unique and humourous way, Friends demonstrates what a family is to be about. Living together with each other's
strengths, weaknesses and quirks; watching out for and protecting one another individually and as a group;
apologizing for mistakes, sharing emotions and continuing to journey together.
The Church should be people where authentic relationships and their related frustrations or temptations are openly shared.
Is that not one of the purposes of the Church, to be a place of relief and healing for weary and wounded people?"
Mr. Ibbotson hits the nail squarely on the head. According to the New Testament, the church is a family-the family of God-and,
as Acts 2:42 states, one of the marks of the early church was that "they devoted themselves to fellowship."
Fellowship-not just the "surface stuff" of refreshments and chit-chat after church, but true fellowship: a
genuine spirit of community, a real feeling of family, a true sense of belonging and caring. Coffee and
conversation alone won't cut it; real fellowship goes much deeper than that. Church is more than just religion;
it's all about relationships and taking the time to care. All of us here at King Street Baptist Church should make this a priority, not
just the Fellowship Board members. When that happens, then we will move from
being casual to being personal with people and really begin to live out the truth of 1 Corinthians 12:25,
which describes the church as a place where there is "genuine concern for one another." In other words,
it's what the Bible calls "fellowship" or, as the Friends theme song puts it: "I'll be there for you,
'cause you're there for me too."