A Church with a Healthy Routine
Occasionally I have looked down at my everyday shoes, scuffed and scarred, and have thought that I should polish my shoes… but the intention dissolves almost as quickly as the thought occurred. This morning I remembered Dad. His father and grandfather both were shoe repairmen… and Dad was also raised around the shoe shop. He took his footwear seriously. Sunday mornings, he usually had the same routine after he dressed (it doesn’t take a man long) while waiting on Mom & four kids to get ready. Dad would gather up all our shoes, sit down with his brush and shoe wax, then commence to polish and shine each pair. It’s a routine that I have not followed (Sunday mornings I’m always cramming on my sermon.
Good routines are important. Welcoming all people to the house of the Lord should be a routine mark of a Christian. Whatever area of the church or Bible Study class you sit… a warm reception to those around you matters inside our… er’ His church.
I got the following note from a visitor from Sunday: “Good Morning Charlie, I just wanted to let you know how much my wife and I enjoyed our time with your church family this past Sunday. We were made to feel so welcome from the minute we walked through the front doors! My job allows me the chance to visit many churches & you folks do a wonderful job of making visitors feel right at home. Keep up the great work you’re doing here!”
Before and during Sunday school and Worship… It matters too that rain or shine that we are outside in the parking lots and porches of our building. Louder than words it says, “We are open for business and we are glad you are here!” (This summer on Wednesday evenings, even one of our very young boys decided he would open the door for every person who walked in… it called to my mind… “I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my Lord….” Psalm 84:10)
Folks, good regular hospitality is more than routine. It can exhibit a genuine consciousness of newcomers… in all cases we need to consider that guests and all of us who come here are looking for the Good News of Christ - first impressions matter, a lot! It’s hard to evangelize in our day if there is no pre-evangelism… and hospitality is a first important way to begin building relationships that will help us to represent and share Jesus.
Over the next weeks are several special events planned that are golden opportunities for an extended open hand of introduction to neighbors and strangers: Recently through the State Fair, and our Arts & Crafts Fair; this month’s Church Picnic, Car/Truck/Cycle Show, and Trunk ‘R Treat can be occasions to meet many people who later may be brought to Christ and into the church family. (Two of these also benefit the Sand Hill – Venable Bac/Pac Program and Hominy Valley Crisis Ministry)
Tragically, our part of the world has been rocked by natural disasters of Biblical proportions: two devastating hurricanes and two shattering earthquakes. These are extraordinary times for people to come together and help in these massive calamities. We are receiving monies for the immediate and long-range responses of Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief’s wonderful ministries. Many are taking the opportunities of going. I heartily encourage that beyond our giving we support our church’s efforts to send materially. Vic Rhodes and his family have agreed to take a trailer load of things that are greatly needed in the recovery efforts of Florida.
Let’s do what true people of God routinely do when the need and opportunity is so great!