10th November 2015
I was in a meeting last weekend with a Lead Elder from another Relational Mission Church and he said something that whilst I had heard it before, struck a particular chord with me that Sunday evening. He said, in the contect of church growth that, "We must make newcomers feel welcome and that means addressing them and speaking to them. You wouldn't invite someone to your home and then ignore them would you?"
The reason this was so pertinent to me was that I had just been on an 8 day course at a location that was new to me and with people I had never met. I remember walking in on the first day of the course asking myself questions like will people like me? Will I understand the lingo they use? Will I fit in?
I was nervous.
The truth is that when people visit us for the first few times they are more than likely asking the same quesitons. Where do I fit here? Will people like me? Am I going to be accepted? Will I understand what they are saying?
This morning I read this fantastic blog about the importance of welcoming and being hospitable to newcomers at our churches. One quote makes the point that, "At our church, we love each other, we look out for each other…but there’s always room for one more."
I think it's a helpful and timely reminder to us all that, as we see more guests among us regularly, welcoming people on a Sunday morning is not just a job for a few of us but is our corperate responsibility (1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2).
Simply put, we honour God and the newcomer when we take time to engage, speak with and welcome new people into our home.