October 27 - November 25
A recent nationwide survey asked this question: Is your church a friendly church? 97% of church members who responded said, “Yes, we are a very friendly church.” THEN the survey asked the same question of first-time guests of those same churches: “Was this a friendly church?” You won’t believe the response. Only 3% of guests described the churches as being friendly!
97%...versus 3%. Members versus guests. Insiders versus outsiders. You realize what those numbers convey, right? Those of us on the inside ARE friendly…to each other. But in 97% of the churches out there, that hospitality does not spill out onto the newcomer.
I don’t think this is purposeful! I just think we love our friends and enjoy talking with them. But the outcome can be pretty painful. Most people who screw up the courage to walk into a church for the first time DO NOT experience hospitality. Most of them do NOT feel welcome.
For the next few weeks, we will be in a sermon series titled, “YOUR Welcome.” Yes, I know “your” is misspelled. On purpose. I am asking the question, “How is YOUR welcome to outsiders? How well are YOU reflecting the heart of God in greeting the newcomer who walks through our doors?” As we will discover, this matters deeply to the Lord. I hope it will matter to us, too! And I hope, by the time we are done, I hope “YOUR welcome” will be warmer, more intentional, and more heartfelt than ever.
Thanks for diving in!
Mark Toone, Senior Pastor
Listen. Read. Reflect. Here's the full devotional.