Last night we conducted a service for elderly folks at a local retirement community and I was talking with the members of our church who live there and organized the service when I noticed a new gentleman who’d seated himself just before we were to begin. So I went over to introduce myself and chat with him a little. I’m glad I did for it seemed to make him more at ease and later others went over after the service to do the same and he even mentioned a prayer request during the service for his sister. Plus I made a new acquaintance and possibly a friend !
Most of us have had similar feelings as this man did intially. We are out of town and find a church to attend, or we were saved later in life and walk into a church and its all new to us. Chances are if it was a gospel preaching church, someone came over and was warm and engaging to you and it made you feel welcomed. That’s actually a nice and simple yet powerful way to minister. The next time you see somebody new, make a move ! Go over and introduce yourself, engage them in a conversation where you are genuinely interested in them. Try and find out some things about them to see where they are spiritually, not to be nosy but to be helpful. And, let me stress this, its important you spend more time listening to them !!
When the Lord was asked what the greatest commandment was He not only said it was to love God supremely but also he tagged on the second greatest command of loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is a good outworking of this command, when we get out of our “comfort zone” to make another feel a part, or we excuse ourself from a conversation with people we are quite at ease with to help another to feel the same way ! We do our best to make them comfortable and provide for them a sense of belonging. I believe God notes our actions then of caring for someone new as very commendable for we are welcoming them in His house and encouraging them by our actions to come back again.
The next time someone new shows up at your church, put yourself in their shoes. Will they leave having thought they felt welcomed or will they think it was a rather cold church? You can make all the difference in this, and if you struggle with being welcoming, draw your strength to change that from the Lord, He will help you. Listen and make someone feel accepted today !!