Every Sunday our church welcomes every person in worship.
We recognize and thank God for those people who have been around the church forever, F-O-R-E-V-E-R! They have served on every committee, have prayed for the church and most likely have bought their more-than-fair share of bake sale items. And they keep coming to worship. So, we thank God for them.
There are also people who are new. If you haven’t learned, churches tend to walk slowly. So, “new” might been they’ve around a few months or a few years. Still, they’re figuring where God wants them to be. They want to make sure our church is a place where they can serve and learn to love God more. So, we thank God for them, too.
And what a blessing it is to know there are people who are at our church for the first time. No, we don’t ask them to stand; if you’re interested in where they’re visiting from or from where they have moved, shouldn’t you seek them out after church and get to know them? We just tell them that we’re glad they have joined us, and, of course, thank God they are there.
We also ask our guests to do something for us. In each pew there are mustard-colored info cards. Guests are asked to complete the card which would include leaving their name and contact information. When they’ve completed it, I tell them to fold it and save it for when the offering plate comes around. If they are not yet a part of our church, we don’t want them to feel as if they need to give us money. So, we ask them to put the info card in the plate instead.
That system works for us. It doesn’t put anyone on the spot. I can also use it as example to confirms that I really don’t care about your money. I care about you.
One Sunday I raised the card up to show everyone and immediately an image popped in my mind. I could see an old pair Patrick Ewings. You remember him, right?
Well, I had a pair of his shoes. Any guesses on which color they were? That’s right; info card yellow. I think some people thought it was strange that I used to own a pair of shoes that color. But they’re getting to know me better and better. And, needless to say, they probably didn’t need me to remind what color shoes I used to have. But I did. And I do.
Trust me. I know it’s stupid. Despite what some people might think, I CAN hear myself. Not only that, my kids are more than willing to tell me how dumb it is to hear about my shoes week after week. Those first-time guests haven’t heard, though! It’s a light hearted way to say welcome and bring attention to the cards. I want our guests to know about them and I want our members to remember them.
That’s what made what was in my office this morning so funny.
I’m thanking God for whoever bought me a new pair of shoes. Yes, you will seem them in church this weekend! And if you’re not a part of our church, let this be a reminder to you; please have a little fun in church.