Chances are that the last time you walked into church you were greeted by someone
saying "welcome!". You might have even greeted a few people in the same way. One of the top
priorities for every community is to make every person who walks through their doors feel
welcome. Having welcoming communities is a wonderful thing to strive for, and something that
reflects Christ from every perspective. However, in the words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep
using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
The first time I walked into BASIC I had to have had the word "Welcome" said to me at
least 9 times in the hour and a half that I was there. However, I don't think that I made any
lasting friendships that night or made any progress towards becoming a part of the BASIC
community. Flash forward to the next fall and I was standing outside the Balcony of Lang
welcoming everyone that came through the door. I probably told fifty people that they were
welcome at BASIC, but again I don't think I made a single lasting friendship. I don't even
remember the faces of the people that I welcomed that night.
You see the phrase "All are welcome!" is used as a greeting, or an invitation. The term
Welcome is even defined as meaning 'to greet someone in a warm or friendly manner'.
However, that's not what it has always meant. The word Welcome has roots in the Old English
word 'wilcuma' meaning desirable guest. If we look up the term desirable we find that it means
"worth seeking". In old England when one said welcome to another they were saying "you are
a guest worth seeking," or "a guest worthy of being known".
Within the last few years, I've started realizing that making people feel welcome is a lot
more that just saying the word. It's about intentionally making people feel worthy and like they
are desired. It’s about creating space for people to be exactly who they are regardless of what
they may believe. It's about listening to what people have to say, even if I don't agree. I think
about the times when I've truly felt welcome in a group of people. They are the times when
people call me by name. They are the times when people go out of their way to make sure I
don't feel invisible.
Romans 15:7 says "Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for
the glory of God." Christ doesn't just tell us that we're welcome with him and then walk away,
never talking to us again. He welcomes us and calls us by name. He desires to know everything
about who we are. If this is how Christ welcomes people, then isn't it how you and I should
welcome people too? How much stronger would our communities be as a result of it? How
many lives would we be able to change?
Fall Camping is coming up next weekend October 9th-11th! Sign up now!
afterBASIC is this week! Join us at Lampost Theatre for a LIP-SYNC BATTLE!
Looking for a local church community? Check out Nazareth Lutheran or Orchard Hill on a Sunday morning.
Interested in global missions? Join us over Spring Break in Jamaica!