Did you know? Have you heard? Easter is THIS SUNDAY! We have spent the past six weeks encouraging you, reminding you, harassing you even, to invite family, friends, and neighbors to join you at Ashworth this Sunday.
It is easy to forget why we would make such an effort to get as many people as we can here on Easter Sunday. It isn’t because I love to preach to a roomful of people. (If you know me, you know I will talk to a wall if necessary!) It isn’t to be featured in a magazine or newspaper article because we have done something amazing (We won’t be).
The reason we want to reach out to as many people as we can is that we want the opportunity to tell as many as possible just how amazing Jesus Christ is. I also believe that our church is one of the best-kept secrets in the Metro. We are a place to connect…with God, one another, and our community. Our love for people and making an impact in the world drive us to create an authentic worship experience where you can experience the presence of God, are encouraged to pursue Jesus Christ passionately and experience the power of the Holy Spirit.
So…because we have guests coming over to the house this weekend, I thought it would be an excellent time to remind us all of a few things:
be friendly and hospitable
First, be friendly and hospitable.For those who come for the first time, walking into a church can be a very nerve-wracking experience. SMILE!!! Greet someone you don’t recognize. Offer to show them around. Show them where to get their kids checked-in. Offer to get them a coffee or donut. Don’t just circle up around people you already know. A friendly face and a smile can go a long way in helping someone new feel at home.
Be gracious and patient
Second, be gracious and patient. Believe it or not, someone may park in your favorite parking spot, or heaven forbid, sit in your favorite pew. Show some grace. Don’t make a fuss about it (and please don’t ask them to move because they are sitting in your seat. That’s just rude and not being a good host at all.) Find another spot for this Sunday. Or better yet, sit beside the new person who had the audacity to sit in your spot and get to know them. You might find them to be friendly and pleasant and you might make a new friend!
See the positive
Third, there may be a lot about this weekend that might upset you. A new or adjusted worship time. A full parking lot. A full and noisy foyer. Difficulty getting to the coffee and donuts. A full and hot worship center. Lots of kids running around.
When faced with this, we have an option of how we react. We can see them as challenges and nuisances to be complained about and endured (with a hope that it is back to just the things you like next week). Or we can see them as opportunities. Opportunities to share Jesus with them. Opportunities to help a marriage or family that might be in trouble. Opportunities to change the trajectory of a child’s life. Opportunities to invite someone new into the Ashworth family.
I’m not pretending it is easy. But as the church of Jesus Christ, we exist not just for those who are already here. We also exist for those who aren’t here yet. After all, aren’t you glad someone welcomed you, was kind to you, smiled at you, and made a spot for you in the family when you came to Ashworth? Shouldn’t we be willing to do this for others as well?