There has been a lot of discussion recently in Session, and in some cases, on our Teams Night about welcoming people when they arrive at church on Sundays. This has been an on-going issue as we try our best as a fellowship to make sure that everyone feels welcomed and a part of what it is to be family.
However, what precipitated the recent discussions, is that a new family arrived at our door for the second service, and found it a little overpowering walking up the steps into a gathering between services of people they didn’t know. I’m afraid that everyone seemed to miss their arrival which was a shame although no-one’s fault in particular. But the thing is, we all need to be watching and looking out for each other, particularly those who may be new to the place.
When Evonne, I and the kids went to a new church in Tauranga many years ago, we were met at the door by an elderly gentleman who had a mile-wide smile and an outstretched hand to shake, who then offered to take us into the church. He sat us near another family and introduced us to each other. That was the start for us in going to that church and enjoying the blessing of the place. We had been made to feel welcome and special. Most importantly, we didn’t feel like we were ‘sticking out’ as many new people can feel on joining into any group of folks.
I know we all know what it’s like when we first join a new group of people such as at a church. We know it can be very intimidating, the first time we walk into a new place. But church is meant to be welcoming. I reckon that the people of our fellowship are some of the warmest and most welcoming I know and there’s ample evidence to support that. But if you happen to see someone looking a little lost or unsure of where they are to go as they come into our services, especially before either service and especially as they come to our doors, how about we all try to go that extra mile and make sure that no-one leaves that day feeling unwelcomed. I know none of us would want that.
Paul said, Rom 15:7, “..warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.” TLB