My wife and I belong to a social media group called “Next Door Neighbor.” The posts typically beg for help finding a missing cat or want help identifying the “creep” who stole their daughter’s Jeep. But the other day, a different post caught our hearts.
"I'm looking for a church that has good children’s services, community involvement, and where people are friendly and welcoming. Any recommendations in this area. I grew up in a Christian family but lost faith in my 20s. Now that I’m in my 30s and have children, I would like to start going to church again. Would love to hear your thoughts, recommendations, ideas, anything! Thanks!! Lisa"
Brenda and I immediately began formulating answers but then were sidetracked by the replies to Lisa’s post.
Tim: Hillside Christian Fellowship is very good; small enough to get to know people but well established enough to have a great service and children’s program.
Carol: I would love to meet you and talk about Christ and His abundant love and how He cares for us, our families and communities. Perhaps we could meet over coffee or a bowl of soup. There are many really good churches around us; I’m so happy for you to be reaching out. I’ll be praying for you and your family.
Katie: I recommend Eastrose Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Welcoming, super friendly, community focused, religious exploration program for kids and a nursery for babies. 10:30 service today! I’m giving the opening. :)
Person after person answered Lisa … more than 80. They listened to what she said and shared about their churches. They mentioned ministry options for her children. They bragged on their pastors and how their church focused on Bible teaching. They didn’t forget to let Lisa know how welcome and accepted they felt at their church.
All of the responses strongly affirmed Lisa and were openly eager to have her attend their church. Many invited Lisa personally to join them at their church. “You will like it here” was a common thread.
What people said to Lisa about their church is very enlightening about what makes a church relevant today. There are still Christians out there who love their church and who strongly believe in the Bible. Emotional safety is a theme that appears repeatedly. When people feel at home in a church, they are eager to invite others into that family.
Lisa’s appeal hits home because she’s one of the “children” so many of us pray for every day. She represents the ones we hope will be met with love when they arrive at an Adventist church.
I have been deeply challenged by this to be the kind of person who would make Lisa feel at home. I’m challenged by this to allow God to guide me and my church to be a place where Lisa and her kids would feel at home. I’m asking God to make my church a place where others love it so much, they naturally and eagerly invite others.