Yesterday I wrote about being someone else’s breakthrough. Today I’d like to write something similar. I generally lead prayer before service on Sunday morning. I count it a great privilege, I look forward to it all week. There are only a handful of people there in that large theater, but the Holy Spirit shows up strong. We carry on praising God and lifting up the morning in prayer for about 10-15 minutes, and I always end prayer the same way. After the Amen and a shout unto God I tell those who are there, mostly volunteers and worship team members, to find someone you don’t know and shake their hand. I use this phrase weekly, “Make someone feel welcome.”
Have you ever gone into a building where you just knew you weren’t welcome? I’ve experienced it at small stores and most memorably at a Jewish Temple. Let me set the record straight from the start, I have an immense amount of respect for practicing Jews. I pray for Israel as often as I can, since, it is in fact a command in the Word. So, this isn’t an anti-semite moment – I truly pray that those who have missed Christ will be given the opportunity to find Him. However, one of the most uncomfortable moments I have had was in Temple. You just get the feeling you aren’t welcome. Anyone been there?
I often wonder if we as a Christian church come off that way toward visitors? That’s the last thing I’d want my church to be known for. I want someone smiling and shaking hands at every corner. We may be annoying, but we sure won’t be considered unwelcoming. It is so important that we reach out to those who are seeking answers. People come to church for one of three major reasons: They are at the end of their rope and are desperate. They are brought there by a friend. They are just plain curious.
No matter what the reason, friendliness is the answer. Ever been to Moes Southwestern Grill? “Welcome to Moes!” shout all the employees simultaneously. I went in there once with my wife and a group of friends and they didn’t shout at us. I stopped in the doorway and shouted, “Welcome to Moes!” and they all laughed and shouted it back. I know they are just doing as their are told, but the reasoning is sound, make people feel welcome.
Those of you with Wednesday night service get the opportunity sooner than the rest of us, but let’s accept the challenge this week of not only talking to that person who may receive their breakthrough because of you (http://wp.me/pZxXf-6z) but also say hi or shake hands with someone you’ve never done so with.
It is an awesome feeling to make someone smile, isn’t it?