A Vital Half-Hour
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)
What are some habits that you could develop as application of this passage? Here is one suggestion: after the church service each Sunday morning...don't leave right away. Plan to stick around and do good for others. Build it into your schedule to stay at church for 30 minutes after the service and pack as much good as you can into that time. Sunday morning is a unique time in the week because we have all gathered in one place, which means that there are many “opportunities” surrounding you in the form of faces, both familiar friends and first-time acquaintances. Here are some specific suggestions on how to spend those 30 minutes after the service.
Help others enter into your conversations. If you're in a conversation, and another person comes to join the conversation, take notice of their presence and tell them what you have been discussing so that they can enter into the conversation with you. Make all feel welcome and encouraged.
Be aware of those who aren’t included. Look for visitors, faces you don’t recognize, and those standing alone. Look at your directory and take note of some people who you don't know or who are less engaged in the life of the church, and think through a few get-to-know-you questions with which to approach them.
Come with a plan. Before you even arrive on Sunday morning, think through who you've been praying for or who you know is in need, and plan in advance to stop them and check in. Think about who has served you recently and prepare to make your gratitude explicit. Think about who has served the church lately—express thankfulness to them. In all your words, consider how you can be a “Barnabas”—an intentional encourager.
When you learn of a need, pray with the person immediately. Don't say you will and then never do it. Just stop right then and there and pray with them.
Look for opportunities to serve. If you're in a conversation and hear of a need someone has, offer to pitch in and help.
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