First you deny it. Then it begins to sting a little. Then you realize it’s a foolish, hurt pride, because it’s true–the five other people in the room have noticed it. They don’t mean it personally, but you take it that way. You’re the only one there who has been coming to the church almost since it was founded. Then it was praised as a place to “feel at home”, welcomed. I guess those laurels are way too thin to rest on now. We have become an unwelcoming/unfriendly church. When a strange face appears, we don’t even smile, but look the other way. (*grief-choke*)
The five others were generously forgiving, not even realizing there was a Guilty One in their midst. They knew it wasn’t intentional, and one lady noted that some churches just have a different vision… Hmm. Therein lies further truth… it’s not just a matter of being unwelcoming–it’s a symptom of a deeper problem: vision. How many of us have a vision that involves others? Oh, we say we do–but as soon as we leave the church on Sunday, we seem to forget. No, before we leave the church… we’re so involved with our own agenda that we can’t even notice & welcome new faces! There are definitely some people who have that vision, but they are so few that strangers get missed.
It’s not that people necessarily want to be “pounced upon” as soon as they arrive–our newer 5 yesterday made that clear. In fact, if we Appointed Greeters, it would let the rest of us off the hook far too easily.
We SO readily fall into cliques. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, sits in the exact same spot every Sunday. But even at that, how long has that one lady sat a few seats ahead–how many years–before I even knew her name?!
Our church is currently searching for a lead pastor. Please pray for us. We need more than a new pastor.
“We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.” (Titus 2:12, 13)