I sure had not planned to do a follow-up on this week’s post, When Babies Don’t Feel Welcome in The Church. But with the response, and this week’s #FiveMinuteFriday word prompt, TEAM, it seemed appropriate. I have received many comments, on Facebook, email and the blog, and would love to hear YOUR thoughts as well.
There are few things worse than standing on a ball field waiting for teams to be picked. You certainly aren’t the Hank Aaron they need or the Chris Sabo they want. (Go Reds!) And away they go, picking the best, the tallest, the fastest, even just the best looking because, well, hey, they are good looking!
And there you are.
- Just left over.
- Someone has to take you.
It’s one of life’s most impressionable lessons that we simply never forget.
There really is only one team and that is God’s, we all should be on His team. But even in The Church, sometimes there are unspoken teams that are created, inadvertently perhaps, but still ever present. These teams can cause great harm to a newcomer, whether they have just moved to the area, are an established Christian or a brand new convert who is just coming to discover their new Savior and church family.
Look at Team 1:
Us Four and No More
This team is exclusionary. You can’t be a part if you
- didn’t grow up in the city
- weren’t born in the church
- didn’t go to school with the pastor or his kids
And then Team 2:
Misfits, Tag-along’s and Always Left Behind
This team is INclusionary. (I just invented that word for today, you’re welcome.) They don’t fit the above criteria but they do
- invite anyone into their group to be a part of The Church
- work hard at making others feel included and wanted
- realize that The Church isn’t four walls and make an effort to extend their hospitality
They aren’t really misfits at all, they belong in The Body! They are not tag-along’s either, they are faithful, hard working and jump at the chance to make a difference. And Always Left Behind? That is only because there is a Team 1 in every church that pushes them aside and causes them to feel as if they never get picked.
That’s it. Two teams. Of course there could be all sorts of break-out groups but for the sake of brevity, today it is two. One feels as if everything in The Church belongs to them, is all about them and for them. The other understands it is all about HIM and reaching out to “whosoever will”. They make an effort because they understand it is Kingdom first and self last.
One of the most important things we can do is to make sure they are PLUGGED IN. That doesn’t mean they take over teaching Sunday School after the first few visits but if they have chosen your church as their new home they have to have somewhere to land. Do you have Care Groups? Then assign them to one. Do you have mid-week home groups? They should be invited and even asked to bring a dessert, if you do that sort of thing. You have no idea how excited they will be to actually contribute and feel as if they are needed. Are you the youth leader or Sunday School teacher? Make sure you know the names of their children and help them strike up conversation with someone else that will help them feel comfortable.
If you asked a new family in the Church the most important thing you could do for them their first few services?
#FiveMinuteFriday is supposed to be short and written in five minutes…so we shall stop here! But help me today by commenting what YOUR church does to assist a new family in becoming a part of The Body.
Sharing with Grace and Truth