I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35
A relative of mine is not a regular attender of worship, even though she makes a generous donation to her Lutheran church every year. I asked her why she didn't go to church more often, and here's what she said.
"I've tried going to the church service a few times, but nobody at all spoke to me. I felt out of place, as if nobody cared whether I was there or not. So I didn't go back."
One thing I've noticed about our church is that we're very welcoming. If someone new comes, most times they receive a smile and a welcome along with their bulletin from the greeter at the door. We have visitor packets that we pass out with information about the church and a pen, and we ask them to fill out a blue card with their information.
When worship is over, I've often seen members of our congregation go to strangers and introduce themselves, welcoming the visitors to St. Paul's. We invite them to come downstairs for fellowship, and let them know if there are any special events coming up.
How welcoming are you?
Here's a challenge. Next time you go to church and see someone you don't know sitting nearby, make a point of going over and introducing yourself. Find out their names and why they're at St. Paul's, and invite them down for coffee and refreshments. And if they accept, be sure to follow up and make sure they're introduced to other people and have someone to sit with.
Remember, Jesus said, "When you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me." Matthew 25:40 CEB