Do you remember the last time you went somewhere new? You didn’t know where the location was (you trusted your phone app ?) and arrived and everything was new. It may have been exciting, uncomfortable, or scary.
Last Fall my wife, Rachelle, and I made a trip to Washington, D.C. We had an appointment to meet our tour guide at the representative office in the Rayburn Office Building. If you’ve never been there, it’s a maze. We got lost twice and it could have been uncomfortable and scary, but both times members of Congress helped us get to where we needed to go. We were so thankful for a friendly face and the help from people who didn’t need to take time out to help us.
Visiting a new church can bring up those same feelings of being uncomfortable and scared. Last year over 600 people visited the church. Each one may have felt nervous and unsure because it was something new. Your response (a friendly welcome, an offer for help, a thanks for being here) can make or break their next step of faith in trying to get closer to God. I love it when people engage in ministry because Church isn’t a building or a place. It is a group of people experiencing life change, life growth, and life purpose. You are the Church.
In 2020 we are praying for over 1,000 first time visitors at The Village. That is 1,000 lives being changed by God. We are praying that they feel welcomed, comfortable and excited about their next step. You can help make that happen. You are the Church.
Recently a family visited for the first time. One of our regulars introduced themselves and flagged me down to say hello. The visiting family had kids, so immediately the welcoming family told them about Pulse Student Ministries that was kicking off that night. The kids came and loved it! Then, the next day two of our Pulse students met one of the new students at high school because it was their first day having just moved to the community. The students showed the new student around so he could feel right at home. Isn’t that wonderful?!
My prayer is that I and WE can be as welcoming as our students and do our very best to point people to Jesus, living out this verse…
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2 NIV)