Every year on vacation I look forward to being a guest at a church. Since I preach at the church I love between 45 and 50 Sundays per year, it’s a fun opportunity to have no responsibilities and simply to worship among God’s people. However, every year’s vacation brings a needed reminder of what it feels like to be a first time guest. Frankly, not feeling wanted in an assembly feels crumby.
A few weeks ago, we entered a service and were almost avoided by the greeters. Nobody gave us a bulletin. Nobody helped us find a seat in the crowded worship space. Nobody introduced themselves until after the service when we introduces ourselves publicly (seriously! but at least they didn’t sing the welcome song). We already felt a bit out of place, since we were the only younger couple in a church predominantly comprised of retirees, but since we value intergenerational friendships, I was eager to meet people. If only they had been eager to meet us!
If you think your church has something to offer that people actually need (the gospel, spiritual help/growth, a loving community, etc), then embrace what should be regarded as an every member joy and privilege — greeting those people you don’t recognize!