I had the strangest experience yesterday walking into church.
Narcie was preaching at a local church and after I finished up leading worship I decided to go listen to her sermon. So I pulled up to this church and walked in. How would you expect to be greeted? Welcome/Hello, how are you?/Greeting – something like that right? Well, I was greeted with:
“May I help you?”
I was rather stunned and responded with:
“This is church right? May I join you?”
He then handed me a bulletin and ushered me in, telling me where to go sit, making it very clear I had interrupted the conversation he was having with the other fellow out in the narthex. I had a seat in one of the many empty seats in the rear of the sanctuary.
I have never felt less welcomed in my life. At one point during our little discourse I wanted to leave.
I was dressed appropriately for church (sometimes I will look like a bum) – and as I sat there in the back I was a little dumbfounded. My thoughts were along the lines of how does this congregation expect to grow, or simply replace the members that will pass away or move away in the next 5, 10, 20 years with that kind of attitude greeting people at the door?
Yes, it was only one person that made me feel ever so welcomed, and I know many members of that church – and they are wonderful people. But what was my impression of that church in the days that followed…May I help you?
Perhaps the amazing thing was Narcie was preaching the “Making fishers of men” text (Mark 1:14-20). She spoke of how we need to cast a wide net, because all people are called to be in fellowship with and through Christ. If we are to be fishers of men (and women) then we must seek out all people; those who may not look like us, those who may not speak like us, and yes – those who may not worship like us. Perhaps Narcie’s sermon was being preached for someone particular that morning.
We are all called to share God’s amazing Love.
The disciples were sent to the edges of the known world – all to share the Word of God.
The least we can do is be a welcoming people to those who walk into our churches Sunday morning.