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Open door

8449703391_8ea77da53f_oHospitality is a gift. It is one of those gifts that some people have been blessed with abundantly. Ever visit someone, family/friend/relative, and you could tell they wanted to make sure that you felt completely comfortable? Some people have the natural ability to really enable you to “feel at home”.

I knew one woman who was so hospitable that it seemed like she always had my favourite pie coming out of the oven when I came over.

Some friends from Saskatchewan had this great capacity to make everyone who walked through their door feel like they could put their feet up and relax. It was great! I loved visiting them.

I have visited a few churches that were close to providing that same feeling…even when it was the first visit, I felt like I’d been there forever. One Sunday, I ended up having no commitments and decided to simply go to a church just to worship – no presentations, no preaching or leading. The people greeting there didn’t know me, but gave me a warm welcome. I arrived just before the service started and chose an empty pew. A moment or two later, one of the greeters came over to me, introduced herself by name and pointed out the prayer book for that day and which song book they’d be using. It was great! I smiled, already knowing the lingo and not feeling awkward about the bookshelf in front of me.

She smiled and said, “If you get lost, my husband and I are sitting right behind you – just let us know.” I was really impressed with their warmth and hospitality. It was a small congregation, nothing fancy, no frills – but a warm community of believers.

We can get awfully comfortable with the way our church services run, so much so that we can forget how foreign it may be to someone who’s visiting. Put yourself in their shoes. What might it take for someone new to walk in and feel like they’ve come home? Better get that pie out of the oven!

About Shawn C. Branch

Shawn C. Branch has been the National Director for Threshold Ministries since 2012. Commissioned as an evangelist in 2004, he has been serving parishes and dioceses across the country. His focus is to help individuals know Christ and equip churches to reach out.
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4 Responses to Open door

  1. Everyone SHOULD be welcome in God’s House. It’s sad that I’ve been to some churches and felt uncomfortable there. Such is NOT he case with the church I go to now and call home!!

  2. It takes a commitment by everyone in the parish to be welcoming.

  3. Sorry to hear about that experience Philip! Glad that you are in a healthy, welcoming community.

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