There is a journalist being invited to make a speech in a University on the topic of the strength of America. I read his speech. It is quite reasonable and when I reflected on it. I feel like it can apply to the church as well (Of course with a different context).
So the first principle of how to make a church great is: how well we treat the outsiders who come to the church!
This is the scripture says, “34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:34
There are few things we can learn:
- Treat the seekers and new believers well. When they come to church we welcome them warmly and treat them as if they are one of us, part of the family.
- It is because once we are stranger from outside. Just like the Israelites, they were sojourners in Egypt. As Peter reminds us, we are “temporary residents and foreigners” in this world 1 Peter 2:11
- It is God’s nature to love, to be patient and to forgive, especially those who are weak and vulnerable. We are doing the same to express God’s nature in us.
- New comers are not perfect, especially if they have not believed in Christ. We should show them love and patience. They indeed offer us an opportunity to learn and change as we are not perfect either.
Once I visited a well-known church in NJ when I was traveling. The church was very well organized. But I didn’t feel warm. I felt bad about this church.
Brothers and Sisters, in this special season, let us make our church a warm place for the outsiders, visitors and new comers. Bring them the love of Christ. Be conscious and actively reaching out the people you are not familiar with but sitting just next to you.
December 8, 2017