If you have siblings, you probably have inside jokes–some of them may go all the way back to your childhood. They may involve super-obscure references to things that would take forever to explain to someone who overheard y’all laugh. It’s almost like a secret code language. And it signals long-standing intimacy.

But you don’t have to know someone from childhood to begin noticing and developing the common threads of friendship. Once these are in place, you can even communicate across a room with a knowing glance and a shared smile.

There are a ton of ways to develop this thought–but I want to talk briefly about preaching.

If you have a relationship with your pastor. Even one that feels small, you experience sermons in a fundamentally different way than you do when there is no relationship. And the preacher experiences the delivery in a fundamentally different way if he knows the room versus speaking to an anonymous audience through a camera or microphone.

If there is consistency in attendance, and opportunities for friendship, this intimacy accumulates tremendously over time. And the bilateral communication of the sermon grows richer and richer.

Introduce yourself. Send a note. Grab coffee. Starting is hard, but you’d be amazed at how little it takes to knock off the anonymity and make a real connection.