Several years ago I had a friend who, after years of attending the same church, stopped attending. He stopped attending because when he was sick for a month, no one from the church check in on him. No one called. No visits. So, my friend thought, to heck with those people. And he was done going to church.
His story is not uncommon. I have come across many people in my short life telling me they do not attend church anymore because their church did not check in on them. And I can tell you as a church leader that hurts my heart when someone falls through the cracks of support when they needed the support from a community. It happens. It is never intentional, but it does happen. Humans, even humans in the church, make mistakes. We all fall short.
The story I wish I would hear, but have not heard before, is when someone feels like they fell through the cracks of support they would have such compassion that they would work to ensure the cracks would be filled. I would love to have someone come back and say, "I know how crappy it feels to think I am forgotten or left out. I never want anyone to feel that way and I am going to do something about it."
For as common as the first story is, I have never heard the second story.
What can we church leaders do to help change people's hearts so that when pain is felt we work to heal not just our own but others' as well?