There’s nothing like being welcomed, accepted, and loved. It makes you feel happy, safe, and free to be yourself. In our everyday life, we can get that feeling from family, our spouse, our children, and kindred spirits.
Think about your own home. How do you greet someone who is coming over? How much attention to you give them to make sure they feel comfortable? Do you take their coat? Show them to the bathroom? Offer them a cool drink or a snack? Give them your undivided attention? Do you walk them to the door at the end of the evening and invite them to come again?
Why should a church be any different? It is God’s home after all. A visitor should know where to park, where to enter the building. He should be greeted with a smile and helpful information to transition them to worship. He should continue to be embraced as he moves through the church building, being led as necessary. He should not be alone in worship. He should be invited to attend a small group or fellowship meal. He should leave knowing that he is always welcome and people will be delighted to see him again.
Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35). “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
Taking Jesus seriously changes behavior.
*This is inspired by the first chapter of the book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. I’m reading this book in preparation for a series my church is doing in the fall. I have been asked to develop a small group curriculum to accompany the book that is specific for our church. To help me out, my small group partner and I are reading the book together and talking it over. It’s been a great help to me and I’m so happy she suggested it. If you have thoughts, please feel free to share.