I wonder how many of you had the same experience. You have just moved into a new town or visited another city and go to a church that you have never been to. You go in, find a seat, sit through the service and go out again - unnoticed.A few weeks ago were at a new church where 2 people who we did not know intvited us for lunch. A couple of months ago, we went to an arch-conservative Russian-German church and the pastor invited us for lunch. We had really good fellowship togehter.There are big differences in the way churches deal with visitors. Some are cold and indifferent, others very welcoming, hospitable and caring towards strangers.I think every church should watch out how they welcome strangers.
Have you ever considered that fellowships like this might treat strangers the way they treat each other?
I just contacted the church where I had this experience by email politely, whithout blasting them. I had an immediate, honest and friendly response from the pastor, who addressed this issue with his congregation.While I was there the pastor himself was busy with a seeker and prayed with him.I thanked him for his honesty. I pray that something good will come out of this.
From what I discern from the NT and the early church, meetings were for the "family of God" and everyone knew each other. They were "open" meetings where everyone was encouraged to participate, but they were NOT marketed and publicized as open to all strangers. Certain ones would go out to the Temple on a weekly basis to preach the gospel and because there were no combustion engines, refrigerators and fences, people were in the marketplace every day rubbing shoulders with one another. The church was in close fellowship with one another and if a stranger was in their midst, they were usually brought by someone. Today, it is much different. Rather than go out to the lost, churches want them to come to them. And they advertise and market themselves in this way. And of course, believers are always "shopping around" for a better preacher, more godly youth group, better programs, better worship service, people that pay immediate attention to strangers, etc, etc. In many respects this is the institutional church's own doing. It is almost the same mentality as going to a secular business and expecting prompt, excellent service. I'm not sure if this attitude can be considered a good evolution of Christianity when we visit other Believers and expect prompt, excellent service. We are often easily offended if we are looking to get something (such as affirmation) and it doesn't happen.
Julius21, you are missing my point.This was a church that was inward looking. I was just briefly in that town, not looking for affirmation but was thinking if that church would be a good candidate to look after my old mother who lives in this part of the city. Churches that preach the full counsel of God without softening should show a friendly face to strangers.
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You could tell all of that from one visit?
Julius21 wrote:Have you ever considered that fellowships like this might treat strangers the way they treat each other?