This week I received a beautiful note from a young mom with two children. They had worshipped with us for the first time on Sunday. I happened to see her during that worship service and had an opportunity to talk with her briefly afterward. But even more importantly, I noticed that several others from our church family made a point to stop and speak with her, and engage her children. In the note that she sent me, barely an hour after worship had ended, she expressed her appreciation for the way she was made to feel welcomed. It made my day!
I’m proud and grateful to be a part of a congregation that genuinely cares about people. I want our church to be the kind of place where even those who are visiting with us for the very first time feel welcomed and loved. This reflects the formal and the informal welcome that I was talking about last week in my blog. Members of our hospitality team certainly greeted this family. But beyond that, they were greeted by other members of our congregation who seized the opportunity to welcome them.
I saw something similar at Soulfest this week. We bring a large group to Soulfest (over 120 this year) of primarily youth and young adults, along with the adult leaders. I watched as a girl, who was there for the first time, was immediately welcomed and brought into the circle of several other young girls who were already friends. None of them knew her before Soulfest, but they left the week as friends. How cool is that!
The thing that strikes me about these, and similar, situations is that we never know what is going on in the life of that person that we reach out to. They may be going through a difficult season and are desperately in need of the love of Christ that can be expressed through a warm welcome. They may be at a place where God has been stirring in their heart and they are close to inviting him into their lives. A gracious welcome may put them at ease in a way that allows God to do a work in their heart.
Never underestimate the power of a warm smile and a kind word, be it within the church or in any other setting. Sometimes that simple expression can make all the difference in a person’s day. Within the church setting, it may even have an impact for eternity as it helps guests to lower their guard and to begin a relationship with Jesus. You might have the opportunity to partner with God in changing their life.
Speaking of opportunities for life change, I want to lift up few special events coming up.
- Hero Central Day Camp for K through 8th grade begins next Monday. We are close to capacity, so if you have not yet registered, I would encourage you to do so now at this link.
- Men’s retreat will take place on the weekend of August 25-27. It is open to teenage boys and men. For more information and registration, click on this link.
- Women’s retreat. Registration is now open for ALIVE 2017 Rock Women’s Retreat. For more info and registration, click here.
- NextGen children’s ministry registration is now open. Our NextGen team is working very hard on a complete makeover of our space and our program. If you have children, or you know anyone who does, we invite you to register here for our Fall Launch. Our theme for the fall is “Come to the Party!”
- Fishercat’s Baseball game. Here is one for fun and a good cause. Joins us for faith and family night at fishercat’s stadium in Manchester. Tickets will be available at all locations this Sunday before and after worship.