A CULTURE OF WELCOME AT BETHEL
About 20 people attended a special meeting held at Bethel last Wednesday evening. The meeting was all about deepening the culture of welcome at Bethel Church. These 20 or so people were being recruited to be “fire-spreaders.” Their job is to reach out to those who need to be welcomed and to get us all to do the same.
The initiative has come about because of something really good that his already happening at Bethel. We have been hearing encouraging reports from people who have felt warmly welcomed when they visited Bethel on a Sunday morning. Many others have said that they have experienced Bethel to be a “welcoming church.”
It is wonderful to hear these things said; yet still, there are Sundays when I will notice guests, or even, fellow church members standing alone in the foyer after church or during connect time, excluded from the cheerful circles of conversation all around them.
The approximately 20 people who gathered last week were challenged with this simple goal: no one is to stand alone. They have committed to keeping a look out for anyone relegated to the sidelines. They are to welcome them, but they are to do something more and this is where you come in. They are to involve us all in the welcoming process.
They may do this by introducing us to a guest with whom they have been speaking (perhaps because they have discovered a common interest we share with that guest). Or, they may give us a friendly reminder—if they find that we have fallen into comfortable conversation without noticing that there is someone standing nearby us who is alone.
Our goal of being a welcoming church is very counter cultural and very Christ-like. It is counter cultural because we are not leaving the welcoming process to a trained few, and also because there is no ulterior motive behind our efforts. Our aim is simply to help people feel at home. (We are not trying to sell them anything.) It is Christ-like, because Christ died for all people, and we reflect His love when our welcome is as all-encompassing as his.
So will you join in this effort by making sure that those around you feel welcome? I am confident you will, so let me thank you in advance! Let’s deepen the culture of welcome at Bethel till it can truly be said of us that we are a church where no one stands alone. -- Pastor Tom
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