We Need More Noticers

We need more noticers in the church.


The red squiggle is declaring this a new word . . . 🙂 so I’m breaking ground today. We need more noticers!

As a pastor, I am keenly aware of how much I miss–miss people, miss cues, miss opportunities, miss seeing who is right there in front of me. I miss people who desperately need to be noticed.

Oh, I don’t miss all the time (thankfully!). But still, I miss more than I catch. Which is okay. Why? Because I’m not supposed to catch everything.

We are. 

Become a noticer!
One of the things we admire about Sherlock is his uncanny ability to notice what everyone else fails to see. We can develop that ability, and together see much more!

That’s right–as the church, we need to be noticing what is often ignored. Which is why we need to be developing the spiritual gift of noticing as a community. Noticing the ignored, noticing the ones who are hurting, noticing the confused, the awkward, the numb. Noticing the new, the uninvited, the tentative.

To be people who catch more than miss, we need to turn up our commitment of notice. This spiritual gift must be employed whenever we gather as a church, as well as when we scatter into the community. It will make a huge difference in people’s lives.

I know that becoming a better noticer is challenging, so here’s a few suggestions to get us started.

In order to develop the spiritual gift of noticing, we need to:
  1. Ask God to give us his ability to notice what we normally miss, and the courage to respond to what he shows us. This really is a God-thing, and he will lead us to notice who he want us to see. We’ll find that he’s given us what we need to meet that person where they are at. Ask him.
  2. Slow down enough to see. You know how the faster we travel, the less we enjoy the scenery? The same is true here: The faster we move, the less we notice. We’ve got to slow ourselves down so that we can notice and respond to the people we would normally race past.
  3. Don’t just go to who we know. We all love our friends, and we gravitate toward those who are familiar and safe. I get it. But if we are to notice those no one else is seeing, we need to discipline ourselves to walk past our own comfort zones and into the unfamiliar and the new (and sometimes awkward!). In the context of a worship gathering, where someone could think you are ignoring them (!), talk about it with your friends–tell them that immediately following the benediction, you are going to focus on people who are on the fringes and are not being included, and that you will catch up with them later. They will understand! And hopefully they will join you in the challenge.
  4. Remember: You can’t notice everyone! Neither can I. But together, with God’s help, we can notice many more than we’ll miss–people who need to know God sees them, that they are loved, that they are welcomed and included and valued. More noticers = more noticed.

Are you up for the challenge? We need this more than ever–in our workplaces, schools, coffee shops and restaurants. We need this when we gather for worship and when we scatter for witness. The unnoticed are everywhere–but so are we!

Take action: This week, with God’s help, notice someone you would normally have missed. Ask the Spirit to give you guidance, and then do what he says. Pray for them, say hi, chat it up, serve them, just be chill–whatever seems right.  By noticing those we would normally have ignored, we’ll show and receive love in ways that really count.

Be noticers!



3 thoughts on “We Need More Noticers”

  1. Love this, Tom! I know I try to notice the folks I already know, some of them I am still getting to know, and I try to engage at least a couple folks I do not know yet. The challenge is also balancing the ones I am still getting to know in the time available. Now that fall and winter are coming, it allows me time to invite folks to my home so I CAN get to know them a bit better. Concerning the new people I try to engage, sometimes it starts with a full facial and short verbal acknowledgement. I can sense that is all they need from me at that time. Sometimes they are overwhelmed by the new experience of being with new people, they need time to take it in. Some folks are a little apprehensive about people getting physically and verbally too close to them too quickly. That being said, new folks often do like acknowledgement from the pastor and leaders. Some needs to be introduced to the pastor or leader and have the host step away so as not to overwhelm the person. It is about reading people’s conscious and unconscious cues. Sometimes we are off, but we try to be sensitive to others and not be pushy. Sometimes we are misread too. But we try, and that counts. 🙂

    1. I love the way you are thinking all this through! You are making a difference as you notice and welcome and connect with people. You’ve also reminded us of how we all need to notice, because through some of us have a critical role to play in helping people connect, no one or two people can do it all. Thanks for your response–and thank you for noticing!

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