Reclaimed wood is popular these days – it mainly comes from timbers and decking rescued from old barns, warehouses, factories, and homes. Simply put, reclaimed wood is wood that has been rescued and repurposed, rather than scrapped and destroyed. Reclaimed wood can be cut up, re-shaped, and used in new settings. Perhaps you have some reclaimed wood in your home? If you watch HGTV long enough, almost every “fixer upper”-type show uses reclaimed wood in its home renovation projects. When the reclamation is done right, the wood – once discarded – becomes the focal point of a home or office. When people see reclaimed wood put back in service, they say things like, “I can’t believe that beautiful wood was almost lost forever!”
Reclaimed wood and reclaimed group members
Bible study groups often have people who slip through the cracks of ministry and are in need of reclamation. Once active in groups, these people have become inactive for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a need went unmet. Maybe they felt underappreciated. Or ignored. It could be that we accidentally communicated to them that they were not important to our Bible study group when we let weeks and months pass before we truly noticed they were gone. Here are 3 things that reclaimed wood and reclaimed group members have in common:
- Reclaimed wood doesn’t reclaim itself. And neither do “scrapped” group members. Once a person drops out of a Bible study, the group leader and his or her group members will have to go to work to reclaim the former group member. I’ve never seen people who’ve dropped out of a group suddenly show back up and get plugged into the life of the group again. It takes a reclaimer – the teacher or a group member – to initiate the process of reclamation. People may feel awkward for having dropped out. They may be embarassed because of the reason they slipped away. Jesus told a parable about the importance of leaving 99 sheep in search of the one lost sheep from the flock – and that’s a good reminder to us to go out and reclaim those lost group members – no matter why they wandered away.
- The process can take time. If you are committed to reclaiming group members, go in with your eyes wide open and just accept the fact it will take some time to reclaim former group members. It would not be unusual for the process to take months – or longer. Be persistent, be prayerful, and be persuaded that you are doing the right thing. Stick with it. But be in it for the long haul. Wood that is reclaimed must be gathered, evaluated, and prepared for market – and this is not a quick process!
- The end results are worth it! I led a Bible teaching ministry at a growing church in Texas some years ago. On a particular Monday morning, I received a phone call from a well-intentioned group member who belonged to one of my Bible study groups. She was acting as the group’s “secretary,” and was in charge of taking the roll each week. She’d asked the church office to drop several couples from the roll because of their inactivity. I asked her to reach out to them and make contact, explaining how difficult it is for people to re-engage once they quit attending a group. She was skeptical, but agreed to try. True story: the very next Sunday, two of the couples showed up for class, and thanked her and the group for not dropping them! Reclamation works, and the results of reconnecting people to the body of Christ is certainly worth any discomfort on our part.
Go and reclaim a lost group member this week!
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