Last Sunday I visited 3 different churches in Albuquerque as I began my study break week. I’m kind of a freak like that, I guess. I love the church. I love how God is using the church today. I have a lot to say about my observations, so I hope to in future blogs.
But for now, just one quick observation from last week that will help answer the above question.
Each church was unique in how it welcomed me at the door. By far, my favorite was the church that greeted me with an older gentleman saying, “Welcome, make yourself at home”. That was it. Simple and to the point. I won’t comment here on what they could have done better once I got inside, but I will say I loved that as an opening line. You see, that’s what a church is. It’s a home. A home for family.
A couple of times each year, maybe more, we have what we call Grace@Noon. Essentially we have a meal after the church service to encourage people to stick around and get to know a few more people. It does involve a lot of food. We have an amazing crew of people working to provide a meal for around 500 people! But it’s really not about the food. It does use the entire Commons area at Sinagua. Children’s Church adjusts a bit as we set up and prepare to use every possible corner in the Commons. But it’s really not about how many people fit into a room.
It’s all about extending what Grace is about to a wider circle of people.
Most everyone who attends Grace does so with the same group of people. Call it a family, call it roommates, or ministry peers, we all have our circle. Many even sit in the same part of the auditorium each week, again, surrounded by the same people that like that particular vantage point. Nothing wrong with that… until. Until you meet someone who goes to the same church as you but sits on the other side, or works most weeks in a certain ministry, and you don’t even know you’re in the same church. Or until you meet someone who ‘used’ to attend Grace but never connected with the people, the family of Grace.
As Grace grows and we see more people coming to our church services, we will have to work harder at welcoming others and making sure people feel ‘at home’.
So yes, that’s the biggie behind Grace@Noon. Get to know just a couple of more people. Widen your circle just a bit. Guess what? If we all do that, the church remains friendly, welcoming, and best of all; family.
Thanks to everyone who serves at Grace in any way shape or form. Thanks for the team putting together our meal time so we can enjoy some extended ‘family time’.