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Yesterday, a lady came by to pick up something we had offered on Freecycle. We stood there talking for a while, and in the course of our conversation, she mentioned that her family was looking for a church.
She named a church in the area that they had visited. I’m familiar with the church and was curious to see what she had to say about it. Unfortunately, the first thing out of her mouth was, “I will never go back.” Why?
She said nobody welcomed her that morning. Nobody walked over to her and said, “We’re glad you’re here.” Not a single acknowledgment that someone was glad she was there. Nothing.
Church, we have a problem. Since when is it acceptable to ignore visitors? I don’t care what the person looks like or what their family life may look like – why do we think it is fine to ignore people??? So what if we don’t know them! Christ loves them and died for them too.
I am so sick of the “Us four and no more” mentality. It bothers me. It bothers me a lot. I think what bothers me more about this particular situation is this church is one that has a good reputation in our community. I was very surprised to hear that nobody welcomed her there.
It’s time we woke up and started noticing the people around us. Maybe there’s a visitor at church Sunday morning who came by herself and just looks unsure about being there. Go over to her and give her a big “Hello” and introduce yourself. It might just be a bright spot in her day. Who knows. You may be the one that gets to ultimately lead that person to Christ.
Don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of nerve for me to go talk to someone I don’t know. But after having been ignored at churches we’ve visited too. . .I would rather get over myself and go say, “Hi” to visitors. Who knows, they just might become a new friend.
And while I’m on the subject – being friendly doesn’t just apply to visitors. Have you ever looked around the room and just watched people? Is there someone at your church who is shy or might be having a rough day? They just might need a hug or a bright hello too.
Step out of your comfort zone. Because if we don’t, who will?