What I Meant to Say Was...
Sorry for the confusion! Last weekend when I challenged all of you to be “guerilla greeters,” it was apparently confusing for some.
So, no—I did not mean “gorilla” as in “ape-like” or “simian.” I meant “guerilla” as in stealthy, alert…even a little sneaky.
If you missed St. Andrews weekend, you are completely confused by now, so let me bring you up to speed: we started a sermon series, “Your Welcome,” in which I invited every one of us to ask the question, “How hospitable am I when it comes to sharing my faith and my church with others.”
I mentioned a nationwide survey in which 97% of church members said that their church was a friendly place—while only 3% of the guests to those same churches agreed. In other words, we ARE friendly—with each other!
Which is great, by the way! I’m glad we Chapel Hill folks love each other, that we enjoy being together, that we are eager to get caught up on what happened over the week. The problem is, we can be so focused on those conversations with dear friends that we fail to notice the folks around us, especially the guests who are wondering if there is room in this church home for them.
So, as part of a challenge, I invited everyone to be “guerilla greeters.” Nothing official. No sign-ups or badges to wear. Just a willingness to keep your eyes open, to spot someone you don’t know before or after worship, to take the initiative to greet them and maybe even buy them a cup of coffee.
I’m not asking you NOT to talk to your friends. But I am asking you to greet one new person first! Maybe it means coming early to church and sitting with someone you don’t know. Maybe it means keeping your eyes open after church for the person who looks a bit confused. All it will require is that you keep your head on a swivel, take some initiative, screw up your courage and say, “Hi, I don’t recall your name. I’m Mark. Tell me a little about yourself.”
By the way, the other challenge I extended was this: will you invite one person to join you at church in the next five weeks. One person! I made my first ask on Monday. It was natural and easy. “Do you have a church home?” (No) “Well, I’d love to have you come to Chapel Hill. We have a Saturday evening service that might be an alternative given your Sunday work schedule.” They even gave me an email address to send them a reminder.
See? Easy! Will you do it? Invite one person to come. Greet one stranger in church. Let’s see what we can do to raise our hospitality temperature!
Guerilla—not gorilla! See you in churc—and bring a friend.
P.S. Don’t forget, the Israel Information Night is this Sunday at 6:00 pm in the Memorial Chapel. If you’ve ever thought of making this pilgrimage with me, the next trip takes place in November 2019, so come along and learn about it.