As surprising as it sounds, the last two years have brought growth at our local church. A new attender used to stand out in the crowd, but now many unfamiliar faces dot the seats to the point you feel overwhelmed with whom to greet.
In Welcome: Loving Your Church By Making Space for Everyone, Jen Oshman challenges us to become a welcoming people. She, "wants you to consider that because God has welcomed you, it falls to you to welcome others. Not only that, but in the way God has welcomed you, he now calls you to welcome them. The God who has related to you with such kindness, such generosity, such magnanimity now calls you to relate to others likewise."
If you've been in the church for awhile, you may have forgotten the discomfort of entering somewhere new, or perhaps you're sensing the awkwardness you'd feel in being the one greeting at the doors.
She helps us consider the self-sacrificing welcome of Christ. His acceptance of us into His family wasn't done half-baked, He was all in with a whole heart and held nothing back, in total surrender and obedience to the Father.
Does that describe our own welcoming?
The church is to be missional, reaching out to those around us, drawing them in with the grace and love of Christ. Our presence and warmth go a long way to communicating that. Perhaps we more easily agree, "every member a missionary," but there's also "every member a greeter."
This book serves as a great resource for those serving or leading in the church, giving food for thought as we evaluate our own habits. There are practical application points at the end of each chapter to help you apply your learning to life.
If you're an extrovert or gifted in hospitality, maybe you're wondering why all these words need to be said when it's second-nature to you. I say, bless you, and ask you to help encourage us introverts along. May we be a people of warmth, emanating the love and beauty of Christ in our fellowship, may we link arms with those brave enough to come through the doors, and intentional to make space for everyone and anyone, just as Christ does for us.
# of pages: 176 pages
Level of Difficulty: easy
My Rating: 5 stars
*A big thanks to The Good Book Company for the complimentary copy of this book and for the opportunity to post an honest review!