WELCOMING THE STRANGER
A recent visitor to our church looked out at the buzzing Sunday morning coffee crowd, and said to me, “I like this church. It’s like a family.” Hospitality is an extremely important Biblical value; so, comments like these greatly encourage me.
Jesus said that as His followers we would be distinguished by the way we welcome others: “I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35). The Book of Hebrews says: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (13:2).
How can we make sure that everyone who visits Bethel on a Sunday morning receives the welcome of Christ? Let me suggest a simple guide. It’s called the “Three Minute Rule”.
This rule states that for the first three minutes following a worship service I look around for guests or anyone I see standing on their own. I resist the temptation to fall into conversation with my familiar friend (which is so easy to do) till I’m sure everyone around me is receiving a warm welcome.
Observing this simple guideline will go a long way toward helping people feel at home. Imagine how appreciative you would be if you were in an unfamiliar church and someone did the same for you.
Perhaps the hardest people for us to engage are those most unlike us. We naturally tend to seek out people from our own culture and background. Our willingness to stretch ourselves to break through cultural and other barriers will make a big difference to people who might otherwise be neglected.
Let’s adopt it as our motto: “At Bethel, nobody stands alone.” Let’s resolve that, whether it is connect time or coffee time, if I see someone standing alone, I will make it a point to stand with them.
Come here for news on what is happening in Bethel Church from our Pastors.