You never know why someone walks through the door on a Sunday; some have reached a breaking point in their lives and want to ‘give this God thing a try’, others have been involved in church in the past and want to reconnect with God and his people. You just never know. One of the exciting things about this though is that every new person who connects with our community might just experience God for the first time. Don’t we all long for people to hear the gospel, respond to it and experience restoration and forgiveness? Isn’t this what we are about as God’s people? What excites me even more is that we actually have newcomers in our Sunday services every week! Every week there is someone who is looking for God, for care, and for friendship. I want you to be aware of this because we all have a part to play. Sure, the welcomers at the front door may be friendly, but if the rest of us don’t take the time to notice and include a newcomer then we are simply inauthentic. If we fail to show hospitality we fail to represent Jesus accurately, for Jesus welcomed those who came to him. 10 …And he (Jesus) took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. (italics mine, Luke 9:10-11) I want to encourage you in this particularly this week because this Sunday is Connect Sunday. On Connect Sundays we do something special to encourage everyone to connect with each other – to build our sense of community as a church. Not only that, but Connect Sundays provide us with a fantastic opportunity to make newcomers feel welcome and included. So, whether you’re at the sausage sizzle after the morning service or watching a movie after the evening service, I encourage you to make the most of the opportunities you have to connect this Sunday. And I pray that we will be a community that is known for our love for one another and our love for outsiders.
Grace to you, Ben