Mike Leake, Lead Pastor at Calvary Church of Neosho, MO, presented an interesting, somewhat fun, yet on-point article for CHURCH LEADERS about the awkward time most of us have experienced when visiting a new church (or perhaps every Sunday at our own church)!

The encouragement from 2 Corinthians 13:12 of “stand and greet one another with a holy kiss…” has many churches allotting time every service for congregants and staff to greet visitors.  After all, what could be better than singling out a visitor immediately and awkwardly greeting them with a friendly face?

Well, as the article discusses, many guests may feel uncomfortable during this formal practice and it could be the reason why a visitor doesn’t come back for a second visit.

The CHURCH LEADERS article may be read HERE.

My brothers and sisters, I pray you are full of thankfulness on this Easter Sunday, as we remember that on the Third Day, the stone was rolled away and Jesus was resurrected from the grave – securing the hope of eternal life for all who will believe in Him as Savior!  Praise Jesus forevermore!

Regarding the article, it would be, in this writer’s view anyway, easy to make too much of the point; however, there is truth in the often felt awkwardness during “meet and greet” and dare I say, even the occasional perception of fakeness or “going through the motions.”  That said, the important thing as believers is to always shine the light and love of Jesus to all – whether visitors or regulars.

We all carry burdens and the “baggage of life.”  We, with very few exceptions, are not aware of even a small percentage of the hurts, concerns, dreams or desires carried by those around us, and all the more so with persons you don’t know.

For this reason, the love of Christ expressed in warm handshakes, unforced hugs, smiles, genuinely kind words and “listening ears” (spiritually and in the natural) are irreplaceable.  You see, as persons made in the image and likeness of God, we are meant to be in relationship with God and with each other!

We all have one thing in common.  We’ve all blown it (read:  sinned).  Praise God that Jesus was willing to die for my sin, your sin, and the sin of the world, so that by confessing Jesus as Lord, we are saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have eternal life in the very presence of Almighty God.  No worldly god, false religion or secular moral code brings salvation.

So smile, exercise spiritual discernment, and greet visitors and regulars alike, as lives truly depend upon it.  A visitor in church (or elsewhere, for that matter) presents an opportunity to “preach without words” to those who may be perishing, or who need prayer for an illness, or even deliverance from an affliction of the evil one – but we must be genuine in our outreach, remembering that “they will know we are Christians by our love” – not our formal meet and greet.

Let’s never forget:

Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”.

Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)
“…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Acts 4:12 (Amplified Bible)
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].”

John 14:6 (NKJV)
“Jesus said to [Thomas], ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

As the song says, they will know we are Christians by our love (for one another):

John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He is risen; He is risen indeed!  Amen.

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