You might wonder why Kobe Bryant is getting so much media attention and there were other victims on the same helicopter that are seemingly overshadowed. Twenty-four hours later you might also wonder why a US Military plane crashes in Afghanistan and social media is virtually silent. What makes the loss of Kobe Bryant different from other tragedies? I believe the answer lies within a person's name. When we know the name of a person before they are involved in a tragedy, it seems more personal. It's like we had a connection with them; even if the connection were only superficial. In contrast, if we don't previously know the names of others involved in a tragedy, the loss doesn't impact us in the same way.
A few years ago, the question was asked, "If your church died, would your community grieve the loss?" I believe the answer can be found in whether or not they knew your name before the tragic loss of a church that has died. To be clear, I don't mean the name of your church or even the name of your pastor. Two questions should be asked. (1) Does the community know the names of the people in your church? (2) Why do they know the names of the people in your church? The answer to those two questions will determine whether or not your community would grieve at the death of your church.
If your community doesn't know people from within your congregation, the death of the church might be tragic but will not be grieved by the community. If they know the names, but not for the right reasons, the church will not be grieved either. A church will be grieved when the community has a positive connection with the people in your congregation. However, if your church is known for making positive connections with people in your community, your church is probably in good health.
Grief Counseling: Pastor Chris Dortch is the Lead Pastor of Grace Point Church of Lake Norman. If you are in need of grief counseling due to a loss in your own life, Pastor Chris would be happy to meet with you at no cost to you. You can reach him at Grace Point Church by calling 704-360-3992.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."