Who Deserves Better?
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God…” Hebrews 12:15 (NIV84)
Our I deserve better mentality can follow us to unexpected places. The longer we are in a church, the more we believe we are the church. Our opinions and preferences can become paramount, and though we would never utter it aloud, our actions and attitudes can proclaim "I deserve better!" This tends to happen most often when we encounter change.
You may have recently noticed that we have not been standing and shaking hands at the beginning of the service. Over the last few months, we have come to understand that our welcome time is not as welcoming as we hoped. Some guests find this programmed greeting time to be awkward at best and at worst inauthentic. After all, how warmly is a guest actually greeted if he or she is only engaged during those 90 seconds?
Since the first of the year, we have made welcoming our guests a priority. Pastor Todd has been organizing and leading our first impressions team to make sure our guests feel welcome, and we want to invite all of you to be a part of that team. Before and after each service, please introduce yourself to those around you. Take it upon yourself to make sure no guest walks out our doors without feeling welcomed and loved. You are our greatest asset in sharing Christ's love with our guests.
Hebrews 11:15 says, "See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble." We know this isn't what we've always done, but we believe this approach will do more to accomplish our mission. We are so committed to making people feel welcome that we are willing to lay down what's familiar in order to effectively embrace our community. This goal is so important that we don't believe it's wise to limit our effort to just one moment in the service.
In his May 20 blog on thomrainer.com, Thom Rainer (President and CEO of Lifeway) listed seven things church members should say to guests in a worship service. Here are his suggestions, and I encourage you to check out this insightful post for his comments.
- Thank you for being here.
- Let me help you with that.
- Please take my seat.
- Here is my contact information. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
- Can I show you where you need to go?
- Let me introduce you to ____.
- Would you join us for lunch?
Some of these might take us outside of comfort zone, the familiar realm of I deserve better. But what if we approached Sunday believing our guest deserve better? How would that change their experience at our church and their impression of our Savior?