There is something about feeling like you belong. The feeling that you’re wanted, included, and part of something will definitely change the way you look at not only others but yourself. We strive to be a community that makes people feel welcome. We want people to feel loved and encouraged, and while they may not be perfect, welcome to grow in our community. So, this week we’ll be looking at the benefits of being welcomed.
One of the most amazing things about God is the way he loves us. He doesn’t make us clean up, he doesn’t tell us to get right, he simply offers an opportunity to follow him. And as we follow him more closely, we learn to be more like him. He changes us gradually but loves us unconditionally. This is because he doesn’t dwell on where we are or who are, but who we were created to be.
Imagine the intimidation that can come for a guest to visit our community. Imagine how uncomfortable and nervous a person might be in walking into a church for the first time. They don’t know us, or what we’re like, and feel like they have to be on their best behavior. They’re nervous and feel like they don’t belong.
Then someone says hi. They strike up a conversation. They talk about sports, or the weather, and family and work. They find that this strange church person who approached them is a lot like they are. They begin to feel like maybe they could stay here. Maybe they could make this place work. Maybe this is a place for them.
We don’t approve of every lifestyle. We stick to the Bible in this place. I love that. But just like Jesus didn’t make us clean up before we could follow him, we accept people as they are, so that they can follow Christ too, and learn to be more like him. In this way, more so that most others, we get to share a Christ-like love. We get to share a love that says you are more than your past. You are more than your struggles. You are loved.