Preparing for Church
Ever found yourself approaching the door of the church on Sunday morning wondering, “Why am I here and what am I expecting?” The term we translate “church” literally means “those called out.” We are called out to meet together, but why? The New Testament gives us plenty of reasons. We are to share the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. We are to “preach the word” and receive its message. We are called to encourage one another and stimulate one another toward “love and good deeds.” We are to greet one another, bear one another’s burdens, pray for and with one another, and we are to testify to the things that God is doing in our lives. Another calling is hospitality. The body of Christ has a welcoming function for those who are being “called out” to our gathering for the first time.
Last month Betsy and I used a gift certificate for a two night stay at a hotel. The hospitality started the moment we arrived. There was an attractive lobby with a smiling and energetic staff ready to greet us. They explained everything thoroughly and made us feel welcome. The staff immediately broke off from their conversations with one another and focused on us.
I’d like to think that we are a welcoming church and yet I think we have more work to do. If we are “regulars” of CCC, we should be aware that some who attend each week are not. To them we regulars look like staff. We are engaged in discussion with one another and know our way around. What do we do when we spot a new face? Do we continue with our conversation or see the need to welcome them? I’m not suggesting we cut off someone who is pouring out their heart to us, but if the conversation is of a “routine” variety, as it often is, then we can make a great difference in someone’s “first impression” of church by welcoming them and helping them get acclimated.
Summer is a time of transition in many families. They are often either vacationing or relocating. As you ask yourself that question, “Why am I here and what am I expecting?” I hope you will consider that there may be new people checking out CCC for the first time or even having their first time in any church. God may have called you to be the welcoming and connecting person for their experience with the body of Christ. I know we have “greeters” at the door, but we are all called to be hospitable. I hope you’ll be a part of the welcome team.
This Sunday we will look at the experience of Elijah during and immediately following his confrontation with King Ahab and the prophets of Baal, found in 1 Kings 18-19.
I hope to see you then!