How do you get involved in a church? How do you get accepted and become part of the core group of people (this can be a very large group) who serve and lead the church?
This is a major issue and worth discussing. Two things must happen.
First, the church must be open to allowing new people to become the heart of the church. The Letter of James deals with this kind of attitude. James played out a scenario. Suppose two people came to your church meeting. One is dressed in fine clothing, the other is obviously poor. What happens? In James’ day, the question was, who gets the best seat and deferential treatment? In our day, the question is, who gets noticed and appreciated?
Most churches think of themselves as friendly. They are–to their friends and the people they know–but what about to outsiders? What happens to the person who is not a Christian and has no idea how a church works?
This is the real test for every church.
We must look at church meetings as an opportunity to love others. James said this is the royal law–love others as you love yourself. Welcome people the way you want to be welcomed, encourage people the way you want to be encouraged.
As you attend church services, look for the people standing or sitting by themselves. Not everyone wants to be gushed over, so give a genuine smile and say something like, “thank you for joining us today.” Sit near that person and help them get involved.
Second, if you are new, make every effort to get involved. Attend four weeks in a row. Go to the new member class. Attend a small group meeting. Don’t rush out the door. Hang around for a few minutes to give people time to speak to you. Make it clear you want to be a part of the church.
Through the years I have noticed that church people don’t want to force themselves on others. They need to get a signal you want to be included.
This is hard work both for the newcomer and the regular attender, but it is well-worth the effort.
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