Welcome Others, as Christ Has Welcomed Us
As we move back to Mattar Road, Pastor Eugene reminds us that the new building should be first and foremost a place to make Jesus known. One way we can make Jesus known is to be friendly and welcoming to each other, and to reach out to visitors in our midst in the same way Christ reached out to bring us near when we too were strangers.
I’m sure we are all excitedly anticipating our first Sunday worshipping at our new building. After almost two years, we will be back again at 17 Mattar Road this weekend. A new building presents us with a fresh stewardship opportunity: God has entrusted this venue to us, so that we can use it as a place to make Jesus known. God is calling us to be a church that faithfully proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ and displays the truth of this gospel in our life together.
In Romans 15:7, Paul exhorts Christians to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God”. How has Christ welcomed us? We were all once sinners and rebels against God. We were strangers, outsiders who did not belong to the people of God. But Jesus, in humble obedience to His Father’s will, took the initiative to pursue strangers like us. We were once far away from God, but now Jesus has brought us near through His life, death and resurrection. We now belong to God as His children, lavishly loved by God because we are in His Beloved.
Christ has welcomed us with amazing love, mercy and kindness. Having experienced the riches of God’s boundless grace, we are to let God’s grace flow out of us for the blessing of others. We have the wonderful privilege of reflecting Christ in the way we welcome one another and others.
So what does this mean for our times of corporate worship on Sundays?
1) Greet one another warmly and heartily. It is indeed exciting to be at a new venue. But as much as we are thankful for the building, we should be even more grateful for one another and for the joy of gathering as God’s family. We should thank God for how he has united us as one in His Son.
2) Keep a special lookout for newcomers. A new building tends to attract more visitors. Even as we enjoy the familiarity of one another’s fellowship, let’s all be mindful of the newcomers among us. Make a point of speaking to those sitting around you before and after the service, especially if they are new. Let’s all pitch in to help the ushers and welcome team!
3) Help connect others to the rest of God’s family. Jesus has welcomed us into a gospel community. We are no longer unrelated, isolated individuals. Help newcomers to plug into the GBC community by introducing them to others in the church. Take the initiative to connect and be connected! This is one way in which we can all work together to make visitors feel welcome.
The call to be welcoming to strangers urges us to move beyond the comfortable and familiar. What will truly motivate us to reach out to others in such a way? Consider this: Jesus sought us when we were strangers, wandering from the fold of God. He set His love on us and took the initiative to welcome us into God’s family. May we all follow Jesus in how we welcome others, for the glory of God!