As I drove down the street, I noticed that the sidewalk that was recently redone to allow pedestrians safer travel was being changed. It made no sense to me why there was any need to do more work to the area. When I peered closer, I noticed that the sidewalk was constructed to purposely block people from easy access to the church that was located in the same area. There was a barrier making it more difficult for someone to enter the church.
I thought to myself about this barrier and how it reminded me of the barriers that are all around us when it comes to church. There are some people who are kept from going to church. There are others who are turned away from the church. There are others who do not feel welcomed at church. Of course, there are others who want nothing to do with church or with God. From my vantage point, so many people are unable to pass one of these barriers.
During the Christmas season, more people walk through the church doors; some people have not entered since last year and for others it is their first time in a church. I encourage you to be welcoming to all as Christ was loving and caring for the needs of all people. The church is not a building. We are the church. We are called to be a holy people, set apart for God. Let us remember this special calling and act upon it. Let us reach out and hold the door open to all who wish to enter, and even go the extra mile to invite those who have never entered and who aren’t very interested in coming. Shine the Light.
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
– Romans 15:7 [ESV]
As I walked by the church car park, I noticed that a lady pulled her car into the lot, and then she turned around and drove out of the car park, only to park down the street. She used the lot simply to turn around so that she could get on the side of the street she wished to park. I thought then about the options that we have with the church parking area. We all drive into the church car park with the intentions of turning around. Some of us wish to turn our lives around, and we enter the car park with the desire to get to know God and have a relationship with Christ. Then there are other people who go into the parking area simply because they are using it as a way to turn their vehicles around so that they can go in another direction.
But then, there are the other people– the people who are considering what the church has to offer– but then change their mind and leave quickly, trying not to be noticed. I wonder how many people do that at our churches. Do we have a welcoming church? Have we placed out a welcome mat, or are we keeping the doors closed up? This is not really a question about the grounds maintenance and the presence of a welcome mat, but rather, a deep question that we need to all consider as we enter the walls of our church. If we are to share the gospel and bring people to know Christ, we must certainly be inviting. How is your church inviting? How are you inviting? This isn’t a question meant to judge and rate your church’s outreach program. This is a question to get you to consider more ways to share Christ. There’s so many people out there who haven’t heard about Jesus yet. Lets not lose hope.
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”
– John 4:35-36 [ESV]