What happens when you don’t turn up

Have you ever wondered what happens when you don’t turn up? Whether it’s to church or a growth group or something else, do you know what happens when you’re not there?
People notice, and generally they try and assume you had a good reason.
People don’t give it a second thought.
Other people will have put chairs out for you, prepared food for you, and prayed for you, and they’ll be disappointed (in a good way).
Other people will take care of things that you could have helped with.
Several fewer conversations will happen that day. Some if those conversations could have been really valuable and important to other people.
A chair will be left empty next to someone who would love it to be filled.
Other people will hear and engage in God’s word together. It will bind them that little bit more together as Jesus people who are committed to him and each other.
Yes, each one is just a little thing, but all together, and regularly? They make a huge difference!

3 thoughts on “What happens when you don’t turn up

  1. Stuart Heath says:

    Interesting, Dave.

    I wonder if the effects of this are felt in inverse relationship to how strong your community is. That is, if you have a strong relational network where people are seeing one another regularly outside ‘formal’ timeslots like a Bible study or a Sunday gathering, (a) people are more likely to know if you’re not going to come, because you know what’s going on in one another’s lives, and (b) it’s not such a big deal to miss one of these events — we’ll see you tomorrow.

    In contrast, if your ‘community’ is these formal structures, then yes, missing them matters more. But you might also have bigger problems.

    • These things all play (at least a part) in making community.
      But some of them are true regardless.
      It’s not the power of each one, but the cumulative effect that matters most.

  2. One thing that probably doesn’t happen – as often as it could – is that someone else phones to check how you are. Why not?

    * People are unsure if you were actually absent and fear they may just have missed you in the crowd (N/A if it’s obvious in a small congregation or group).
    * People assume you had a good reason.
    * People don’t like to pry.
    * People are busy and get distracted from good intentions.
    * People don’t like to be thought of as nagging – especially if you don’t turn up on a fairly regular basis.
    * Other people don’t see anything unusual or wrong, because it’s typical for them not to turn up quite often too.
    * People aren’t sure how to check up with appropriate discretion.

    What about this…
    “I missed you at church yesterday and just wanted to see how you are.”

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