A few weeks ago, my husband attended a very large church about 10 miles away from our house. He had been invited by their technical director to come and see their setup so he went to one of their Sunday morning services. I attended service at our church that day.
At lunch time, I asked him about his morning. He told me all about the things he had seen that day. He told me about the music and the message which was very good. Then he was silent for a moment.
"You know what I noticed though, not one person shook my hand or welcomed me. Not a single person."
Now it is easy to say that at a large church one tends to get "lost in the crowd" but neither one of us could help but think about our own church which typically runs about 1,000 people or so at each service. As you enter the church, there is usually several people stationed right between the double doors leading into the foyer. Almost always they open up the doors for people who are coming in, greeting them with a smile and words of welcome. Usually there is a handshake as well. Then, as you step inside the foyer, there is a group of people stationed there as well with hands extended, a friendly smile and a warm welcome.
Then, as you make your way to the sanctuary, you are greeted yet again by ushers as you slip inside. It is not over yet. After the worship service, before we sit down, people are encouraged to shake hands with those around them, see if you can meet someone new and so forth making sure that everyone knows... they are welcome here.
This may sound like such a small thing but I believe it is a very important thing; one which we often overlook. We live in a face-paced world where physical contact is becoming the exception rather than the rule. This and other little personal acts of friendly kindness are very important and they can immediately make a positive change in someone's mood and even their thoughts. You are noticed. You are important and yes, that does make a difference.
The day we first went to our church, my husband had already decided that if we were ignored, he would leave and never return. He ended up having his hand shook a great deal that day from the very first moment he stepped in the door. That was nearly seven years ago and we have been there ever since.
What do you think Jesus would be doing at your church on a Sunday morning? I think He would be at the door, extending His hand and greeting people, making them feel welcome. Are we?
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