Jun 25, 2021 | Rev. Rob Fuquay
Always try to be kind to each other and everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
We will hear those words in the scripture reading Sunday as we close our series Everyday Hope. I heard a story this week that is a living picture of Paul’s words.
Deleath Blomberg is our Manager of Guest Experiences and Hospitality on the church staff. She came to share with me the other day about a conversation she had with a person who was visiting the church for the first time. Toward the end of the conversation, Deleath said, “Well I certainly hope you will come back again.” The woman said, “You’re the second person who said that.” So Deleath said, “Well who was first?” The woman said, “I don’t know. These people sitting next to me in the pew learned I was a guest and they said, “We hope you will come back again.”
It’s so simple it doesn’t seem worth writing about unless you’re the guest! The experience of people genuinely caring enough to meet you, learn about you, and let you know they care whether you come back, is hugely significant in determining the vitality of a congregation. The Pew Research Center confirms that the friendliness of a congregation is the most important trait in growing churches. It’s an impact we can all have. Being mindful that every Sunday we will brush shoulders with people checking us out. I know my role is important. And so is the choir, the praise team and your role is too. But the most critical influence is our noticing people, introducing ourselves, getting to know them, and saying, “I hope you will come back.”
Jesus said, “the first shall be last,” but in this regard I believe he would say, “Try to be first every time!” Thanks, St. Luke’s for being a congregation that makes others feel like they are first!