Growing up I attended a medium to large size church. In this church, I felt like I didn't matter. (to the pastor) Don't get me wrong, I had an awesome Youth Pastor and really great Sunday School teachers. But, the pastor was a different story. I was a member there for 9 years and the pastor never knew my name. I had even introduced myself to him numerous times, still acted like we had never met each time I shook his hand. In '98 my aunt was diagnosed with cancer and received treatment at a hospital in the same city as my church. Numerous times I put her name on the "hospital board" at the church to receive a visit from the pastor - never happened. Numerous times I added her to the prayer request list that was to be published in the weekly bulliten - her name never appeared. Numerous times I introduced my pastor to my grandmother who was in town visiting my aunt at the hospital and each time I would retell the story and the pastor acted like he had never heard of her before. It was beginning to feel like I didn't matter.
I realize he had a large congregation and shook hundreds of hands week to week. But, somehow I just don't believe that hearing the same story 4 Sundays in a row of my aunt who had Leukemia was new news to him... It just didn't matter!
Fast forward one year later. It is now 1999. My dad is diagnosed with cancer. I am 16 years old. Each week I would add his name to the prayer request list and no response (my dad wasn't a member - he lived in Nashville, I lived in Jackson, TN). My dad battled cancer for exactly one year, and then we lost him. 3 Sundays in a row my mom and I talked to the pastor after the service about losing my dad, each time again he acted like he had never seen us before. No letter, no follow up, nothing. He had 2 teenage girls, members of his church who had lost an aunt and their father in back to back years - and the pastor didn't even care enough to commit our conversation from the previous week to memory... I was really hurt by the church. Luckily I kept my anger directed just at this church, not all churches and not God.
Fast forward to present. A year ago I started attending Cross Point at the recommendation of my friend Tiana. Loved this church from day 1. Felt like this church was everything I was looking for in a church. It was almost as if their goals for a church were taken directly from my heart. Plus the pastor seemed to care.... Really care about people. And I would not consider this a small church. It has 4 services on Sundays. It's not huge - but it's not tiny either. Beginning of December I left a comment on the pastors blog (http://www.withoutwax.tv/). Just a simple comment voicing my view on teaching your kids about Santa Claus.
And guess what - the pastor emailed me. Me, personally. I have never personally met him. I have not yet joined his church... It didn't matter... He sometimes gets hundreds of comments A DAY. But, he cared what people had to say and he took the time to respond. And you know what? That matters! It means I matter... and to a person attending a church - you want to feel like you matter... Not necessarily that your opinion posted on his blog is that important... but at least you know that in a time of crisis - this is someone you could ask to pray for/with you and know that YOU MATTER.
He read my comment, took the time to email me, and went and read my blog... Me, one of hundreds...
Thanks Pete - you made my day!