When Sue and I were asked to write this short piece about welcoming, we prayed about what you as a congregation would find helpful. We looked at what others have written about this fascinating subject and were moved by the number of Bible references that include welcoming in their text.
We were drawn to reflecting on how we can all include people in the way God includes us in his Kingdom. Some writers refer to the challenge that God is drawing the church to welcome people we would naturally exclude. This is a helpful perspective because it warns us that we are human, and all that entails, but that we share a bigger responsibility in opening up conversations. After all, many of us have spoken to someone and been amazed at where that conversation has led.
As we begin a New Year we look forward to welcoming new people to our church family. As a welcome team we try to seek out those who are new and make them feel welcome, give information, and introduce them to the rest of the family. At our busy 10.30am service this is not always possible, but it is evident that as a church community many people excel at chatting to new and old alike. The following passage helps to set the scene:
‘Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.’ Romans 15:7
If we all hold on to the belief that God created us all in his image (Genesis 1:27), we can then hope to understand that we have all been given a different part to play in our church, so no matter what our background, we can all show love to one another.
Another thing that writers draw attention to is to never underestimate the impact a “Hello” or “ How are you?” can have. After all, we hear a lot about loneliness in our society today and whilst we as a church offer many opportunities every week, a friendly face can be all it needs!
We are blessed with people who welcome at 9am and 10.30am, and with families who welcome at the family services. We are always happy for others to join us, so if you feel led to join this important ministry do let us know.
We thought we would end with the suggestion that maybe there’s one person this week whom God is challenging you to step out and welcome more than you ordinarily would.
Sue and Duncan Jones, welcome coordinators