People come to church looking for light and warmth! They want to know we care. Good preaching and music may bring them in, but relationships that nurture will keep them coming back. You can feel lonely in a crowd, even one that preaches love and has a ‘greet your neighbour’ moment in every service. If we kept 10 per cent of those who came through our church doors we’d be in constant growth mode. It’s easy to say, ‘‘Well, the Bible teaches that if someone wants to have friends, they must show that they are friendly.’ That may be true, but people bring with them the wounds of their past, the struggles of their present, and the unspoken anxieties of their future. What they want to know is, ‘Will you love me as I am, even if I don’t fit your mould and change as quickly as you’d like me to?’ Often our rigid structure keeps that from happening. If one of your greatest concerns is ‘How many people did we have in church?’ it’s time to check your heart. You may be more concerned with your own image than meeting people’s needs. People aren’t just attendance numbers, but individuals who need love and compassion. Jesus told His disciples, ‘I have called you friends’ (John 15:15 KJV). Many people are shy, distrusting, or hurting. Our job is to make ‘friends’ out of them, not just bench warmers and potential donors. The Scripture says, ‘Bear one another’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), because a burden shared is a burden lightened. Many of those who come to church aren’t looking for profound, intellectual answers, they just want to feel cared for. When that happens, they open up to God’s love, and miracles take place.