Every congregation has a core---an unofficial group of members who show up to nearly every function, work party, moving help, or bible class. These are the folks who are actively involved in the church in whatever capacity they are suited to. Sometimes they are noticed, sometimes not, but they are familiar, reliable faces and their absence is felt if not always acknowledged. No matter what the situation, our congregations should seek to expand this core, bringing the fringe members in so that there is no longer a core, but rather an entire group that works together as a family. This begins with building meaningful relationships.
Imagine for a moment being on end-of-life care or severely immobilized. You're stuck in a wheelchair or confined to a hospital bed. You have no driver's license. You don't have the physical capability to get around town at all. You feel like a caged bird. A world that used to brim with possibility is now beyond reach. You can't sally forth on a new adventure unless someone is willing to take you along. You feel stuck. Alone. Helpless.