I went to church yesterday. I know, no big deal, right? It’s the south, we go to church. It’s what we do. But this week Will and I visited a church we’d never been to before. We sort of just came in off the street. Well, not really. The church we visited was one of the two within a four mile radius of our house that had a 10:30 service. So we ended up there.
Ya’ll, I grew up in the church. I have the scars to prove it. Many of my friends have been life long members of the same churches. Cradle Christians, if you will. But walking into a church with no connections, no friends, no connections. Scary indeed. I couldn’t help but think about what it must feel like to walk into the church I’ve called home for more than 15 years. I’m guessing it feels pretty scary.
That said, the church we visited was probably the most friendly, welcoming church I’ve ever attended. No, really. The greeters at the door spoke to us, the greeter inside the door at the table spoke to us, the pastor spoke to us, all before the service. As we passed the peace, people spoke to us and welcomed us. After the service the pastor thanked us for coming. By name. (Seriously, we had name tags on. But it still felt good to have someone say “Melody, thank you for visiting today. I hope you come again.”) They gave us a little gift bag with popcorn, mints, and some literature about their church. It felt good.
I think everyone who is a long term member of a church should visit some other place once a year with no connections and no friends. Just to remember what it feels like.