Retention.

Nancy is hard at work on retention these days, helped kids to come back to the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir for the next season. Her hard work includes such strategies as treating families as people, answering the questions of the head and the heart, offering smiles and tears and time.

crossI offer some of those same things, though I am hard at work at the hospital hoping people don’t come back. We mostly don’t like retention. We like it when people don’t have to come back. But while they are there, facing some of the worst possible times, we work really hard are really simple things, like treating families as people, answering the questions of the head and heart, offering smiles and tears and time.

When I was in the church world, we talked a lot about retention and assimilation, about helping people feel connected and be part of the community. As a chaplain, I have opportunities to talk with people about how often congregations aren’t great at retention, aren’t great at treating families as people, answering the questions of the head and heart, offering smiles and tears and time.

During his last week with his disciples (which they didn’t realize was his last week, until they hit Friday night and thought it was, and then hit Sunday and realized it wasn’t), Jesus did a lot of public and private work. He was treating people as family, posing questions to the head and heart, offering smiles and tears and time.

And then offered a statement of his retention strategy: “. . .Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.