53. Welcoming strangers

53. Welcoming strangers

Our ministry is pretty unique that both youth and adults worship together on Sunday. It is actually beautiful to see different generations gathering together to worship God in the same place.

However, since we have people in various life stages visiting our service, one thing I notice is that sometimes we unconsciously become uncaring of visitors and new comers. Thinking probably goes like this: “I don’t know that person and I don’t need to know him because he is not my age or my group. So why bother say ‘Hi’?”.

I know our natural tendency is to hang out with people we already know so I understand. But if church is supposed to be a family, this is a pretty odd scene. Think about this: “What did you do when your family member brought his/her friends home?” Even though you never met them before, you probably said “Hi” to them at least. When I visit KSC (Korean Speaking Congregation), these days I bump into many people I never met before and they don’t say hi to me. But I make sure to say “Hi” first not because I’m a pastor or love making new friends (I’m an introvert) but I know they are part of my church “family”. Since I worship in different building, I will probably won’t see them that often but this simple exercise helps me to be reminded that we are one church family.

Welcoming team has been very good at welcoming new people and helping them to get plugged into church community. But welcoming responsibility is not limited to welcoming team: This is everyone’s job and privilege to welcome them with kindness and interest. But you might still wonder, “Why should I bother? They are strangers to me!”

One time, Abraham (in the Bible) saw a couple of strangers passing by and he welcomed them and fed them well without knowing who they were. Surprisingly, it turned out that they were angels from God! After they left, Abraham received his long awaited son, “Isaac”. It was not a coincidence. It was that spirit of “welcoming” that brought his best blessing in his life.

So from now on, when you see someone you don’t know, please remember to say “Hi”. Many times we need to say something before we feel like saying it because what we say also shapes how we feel. If you get into habit of welcoming strangers, it will also have impact in how you treat people in your marketplace, setting yourself up for an unexpected blessing in the future.