Sinners Welcomed Here – Are they welcomed at your church?
Today is a journal of my first few weeks at the United Church of Christ (Congregational church) where I was led to attend for the past many months. It is a formal liberal church. The service is full of good songs, scriptures, prayer and also some ceremony such as the lighting of candles. The Pastor reads 3 different scriptures portions and preaches from them. I am always inspired by the excellent teaching.
Our local newspaper has a Saturday Pastors column usually written by a local Pastor. One particular day, a Pastor wrote a column stating that Homosexuality is a sin. As a rebuttal, the next Saturday our former Pastor and the Episcopal priest both wrote letters to the Editor defending the Homosexual lifestyle. Actually they were kind letters. However my upset husband showed them to me. I already knew there was a couple attending our church that has been living in a gay relationship for 30 years. Never-the-less, I believe most of the church members are Christians, and are living good moral lives. All people are welcomed here! Jesus is still changing sinners into Saints!
I also know the Word of Faith Church that I previously attended and left; had an unmarried couple teaching the children, and singing in the praise and worship team. The Pastor of that church knew they were living together, but he allowed them to continue to minister. I am reminded when Jesus told the seeker to go and sin NO more.
Because of the newspaper letters, I almost decided to visit another church. Should I leave, or should I stay? – But as I prayed I was guided to remain there.
During the service, the Pastor asked if there were any joys to report. I volunteered to share the story about our dog Buck, and the growth that miraculously fell off his face. I asked, “Does God care about dogs? Yes I know he does. The Bible says he cares about the birds of the air, that he clothes the grass of the field, and we are of more value than these. If you have a need; God cares about it, and he cares for you. Does God care for dogs? Yes he does and does God care about you, yes he does.” After the service, several told me how blessed they were with my story.
At the social time, one of the council members invited me to attend a Monday evening council meeting at our church. The meeting focused in on how to encourage visitors to return and become members.
These suggestions are good for any church!
Each Sunday, our greeters give each person, who enters the church, a bulletin, and if they are a visitor they are given a sticky name tag, and are requested to sign the guest book.
The suggestion was to have a host along side the greeter, and to invite the guests to sit with them in church. After the service the hosts are to encourage the visitors to join with us in the fellowship hall, and to assist the visitor to get coffee and a treat, and to sit with them at a table. While sitting at the table to introduce them to others, and to ask them how they found out about our church; and to mention the activities available during the week such as the Women’s fellowship, the Bible study, the crafters, and sewing group.
I have not joined this church, but neither has the Lord instructed me to leave. For now I am planted, and am blooming, and being blessed and also blessing others.