>The Five-Minute Rule

>Perhaps you’ve heard of the ten-second rule about food that falls on the floor—if it’s been on the floor less than ten seconds, it’s still good. The Myth Busters television program has dispelled that myth: any amount of time on the floor exposes food to bacteria.

But have you heard about the five-minute rule for church fellowship? A friend recently shared it with me: For at least the first five minutes after a worship service, talk only to someone you don’t already know.

Now that’s an interesting rule. If you’re like me after the worship service, you feel more comfortable looking for and chatting with people you already know. Fear of being tongue-tied often keeps us from approaching visitors or even fellow members we don’t know well.

Think about the implications of following through on this rule! Every week you’d meet at least one new person. If both parties have just spent the previous hour or more in corporate worship, surely they can find something to say to each other!

Our congregation has heard a lot of inspiring sermons stressing the communion of the saints, and many people who become members of our congregation remark about the wonderful fellowship in our church family, but most of us could work harder at stepping out of our comfort zones to greet people other than our friends after worship.

As I consider ways to increase fellowship within our church family, Philippians 2:1-4 seems to support the five-minute rule:

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.


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