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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.