Church, we are in trouble

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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?

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12 thoughts on “Church, we are in trouble”

  1. Reading this makes me so thankful that our new (kind of – we’ve been there 3 years) church *is* so welcoming. Our previous church was exactly like that lady had experienced. The only reason anyone knew my name was because my father-in-law is one of the deacons. And even now, I went back to visit a few months ago, and a woman who I had served in ministry with and had led the ladies’ Bible study I went to, just blanked me. I got a brief hello and then she actually physically turned her head away as I was opening my mouth to ask about her family.

    And when my first child was born, we took her to church at Christmas for the first time. At our next Bible study, the ladies were surprised because they hadn’t seen the baby, and when I said we had been there, one of them said “Oh, we saw you, but we didn’t realise the baby was there too, or we would have come over to say hello”. Wow…it was hard not to be bitter about that one. The sad thing was, they didn’t even realise they were saying anything offensive!

    1. Liz, that is so sad. I wonder what those ladies would think if the situation were reversed. It amazes me how people just don’t seem to realize how their actions affect others. Wow.

      I’m glad your new church is welcoming though!!

  2. hey i just hopped over from raising arrows. this post really spoke to me. i’ve felt ignored at church before and i have a really hard time breaking outside of myself enough to go say “hi” to folks…sooo thank you for this reminder. it is part of loving our neighbor.
    😉

  3. This is one thing I LOVE about our church is that when someone new comes, multiple people will make sure to welcome them. When Jonah and I started our courtship I felt so much at home SO quickly because people actually CARED the way the body of Christ should!

  4. That is really sad!! At our church we have welcome bags full of all kinds of stuff including a jar of our hm apple butter.
    We even have gift bags for children will all kinds of things in them!!

  5. That’s one of the things my husband emphasizes to our church members! I can honestly say that our church family is very friendly to visitors. Even when we came here to candidate, after their pastor had resigned and was leaving, they welcomed us warmly. I just can’t understand churches that won’t make people feel welcome.

    1. It sounds like our churches are pretty similar in that regard. It’s hard for me to understand how churches can be otherwise too though!

  6. Amen! I know exactly how that poor lady feels. Even in our church we can walk in after being gone for several weeks and not a peep from anyone. It’s like we are not even there. So very, very sad!

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