March 4, 2019

Christian Greetings and Recognition

In Romans 16, greetings are sent to a variety of people in this Christian community culminating with verse 16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Instructive in these verses is that the majority of greetings emphasize the positive works that the recipients have accomplished in their ministry.

Examples of these accolades include: “benefactor of many people”; “risked their lives for me”; “ hard work in the Lord”; “being chosen in the Lord”; “our co-worker in Christ”; “fidelity to Christ has stood the test”; “the first convert to Christ in Asia”; “my dear friend in the lord”; and "being my mother, brother or sister in the Lord".

These verses offer us the opportunity to reflect on recognition in our church communities. Questions to ponder include a) Who do we recognize? b) What do we recognize? c) How often is recognition done? d) What is the venue for that recognition? e) and most important who historically has not been recognized.

There are a variety of ways that recognition occurs and the only consistency across our churches seems to be the tributes for the deceased that we hear at funerals. Some churches may recognize the woman or man of the year, others may recognize large financial contributors. Additionally, we may recognize youth or seniors at an annual church or diocesan event. However, in many cases the workers in the church feel that their contributions are not appreciated. Some may also feel that recognition is a popularity contest and in extreme cases may leave our church.

Overall more needs to be done to recognize the everyday contributions of those congregants within our church community. We should challenge ourselves to include an ongoing recognition program that is highlighted during church services on a monthly or quarterly basis. The criteria would be exhibition of Christian values and principles that we want replicated across the congregation. Perhaps we can add this item to our Vestry agenda and ask the congregation to nominate their fellow workers in the kingdom.