Every Number Has A Name! Every Name Has A Story! Every Story Matters to God!

"Every Number Has A Name!  Every Name Has A Story!  Every Story Matters To God!"

I first heard that saying from Perry Noble at NewSpring Church! It wrecked me back then! It still wrecks me today!

Early Monday morning I received one of the most touching emails I’ve received in some time. The email was from a faithful, devoted and committed member of the a2 Church family.

The email was a powerful follow-up to a message I shared this past Sunday. As I read it, I was wrecked again. I immediately emailed the individual and asked for permission to share it while keeping them anonymous. They kindly gave me permission.

I believe that part of what it means for us to “carry the name of Jesus and the presence of God with us into our home, workplaces, schools, gym, neighborhoods, shopping centers, etc.” includes honoring God and the dignity of people with our online presence

Check out the email below. It has slight edits to protect the individual’s identity. After reading, prayerfully consider how God might have you respond when it comes to what you post on your social media feeds.

Maybe just maybe, as we pursue God’s purpose and plans above and beyond our need to share potentially divisive opinions, we can see “[God’s] kingdom come and [His] will be done” even on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Here’s the email I received… 

Chris,

Every number has a name, every name has a story, every story matters to God!

 I love this statement. I like being reminded about this statement every day. I believe we ought to live our life in this posture each and every single day. I believe if we as a Church — (not just a2 church) — live our life with this attitude, we can radically change the world. 

Last year I suspended my Facebook use. For two reasons, I just hated wasting time on it. But a bigger reason was, every time I was on FB I was saddened by the posts I saw. These posts were not from random people, but from people I loved and people who loved me at a2. As the list of people on FB I unfollowed grew to a critical mass, I decided to suspend my FB use.

Lately, I was thinking how can we, as a church be less divisive. Everything is so politically charged. Certain conversations I hear from fellow a2’ers make me feel like we Christians are under constant attack, and we are fighting for our survival. I don’t know why Christians feel that way, I certainly don’t…

I’ve sense a more pronounced “us against them” mentality this past year, though I’m not always sure who “them” are. Maybe it’s the liberals? Maybe it's the conservatives? Maybe it’s immigrants? Maybe it’s those who survive off social programs? Maybe it’s the “crazies” in California and NY. There is a lot of labeling going on all around. So, I started thinking, what if we started inserting these "labels" into this beautiful statement you often remind us of…

Every liberal has a name, every liberal has a story, and that story matters to God!

Every conservative has a name, every conservative has a story, and that story matters to God!

Every immigrant has a name, even the illegal immigrants, and they have a story, and that story matters to God!

Every person whose opinion or viewpoint I think is “crazy” has a name, every “crazy” has a story, and every story matters to God!

Our current president has a name, he has a story, and his story matters to God!

Our former president has a name, he has a story, and his story matters to God!

Maybe we don’t need such a reminder… Maybe all we need to be reminded of is that all people, ALL PEOPLE, are created in God’s image.

Not sure why I felt the prompting to write to you, maybe it is today’s message. I wonder what it would be like if we, a2 Church, lived our life with the reminder and attitude that every number, name, and story matters to God! Not just the “number” that walks through our doors on Sunday.

We have an online presence that can potentially reach far more people than the four walls at Greenhill Parkway. Maybe it can even reach the people we often completely “write off.” 

In Andy Stanley’s book Deep and Wide he talks about the necessity to create an irresistible environment for our guests. With respect to our online presence, especially on FB, are we creating an irresistible environment? I don’t know the answer, but I wonder what happens if a prospective guest clicks around on an a2’ers FB page or Instagram accountAre our Facebook and social media posts creating an irresistible environment? Are they proclaiming that every numbername and story matters to God? Or, are they it proclaiming that only some numberssome names, and some stories matter? Are they proclaiming that only the numbers that think like me or look like me actually matter to God?

Are our Facebook and social media posts proclaiming that every numbername and story matters to God?

I know, just like me, we are a church of broken, messed up people. I also realize we are also a church with people that are culturally ignorant, bigoted,... There I go labeling. This is when I need the reminder: “Every bigot has a name, every bigot has a story, and every story matters to God! And, I need to realize that I am that bigot often times.”

Thank you for the reminder, Chris… We love you and your family. We thank God for your leadership. I believe the church is the place the unity should begin. Maybe the unity in the church can heal the division in our country. Maybe we, a2 church can do something about it, just maybe. 

The church is the place the unity should begin. Maybe the unity in the church can heal the division in our country. 

Your Friend and an Owner at a2 Church

PS: I apologize for the rambling. I just felt the prompting to share this. I feel like this is an area where expectation for our church may not be matching reality and experience.

[End of Email]

Wow! I’ve read that email at least six times and it still moves me…

Isaiah 60:1 challenges us, “Arise, shine! For the light has come and the glory of God has risen upon You….”

It’s time for us to SHINE — to be the light! And part of that includes our social media presence.

Let’s be known as people who LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY and RELENTLESSLY, especially when it comes to what we post on our social media feeds because, after all…

Every Number Has A Name!  Every Name Has A Story!  Every Story Matters To God!