There isn’t anything that’s more inviting than to return home after a long absence. Even if the absence was caused by a wonderful adventure, there’s just something about being back at home where a person can relax in comfortable surroundings in the warm and loving glow of friends and family.
Of course, this is an optimistic view, for sometimes home isn’t nearly as attractive as it should be. Many people don’t have a happy home life for any one of a number of possible reasons…
One of the greatest things that our churches can do is to provide a welcoming and inviting environment. Not too long ago, we had a young guy visit who had experienced adversity in abundance in his life. After visiting for a few weeks he told the pastor that our church was the first place he had encountered where he felt that he belonged, like he was with family. Of course that was quite an encouragement to those of us who were involved with the leadership of that church!
You can’t fake being glad to see people; they will see right through you. You can’t simulate a loving family environment for visitors, they’ll figure it out very quickly. If, on the other hand, we let the love of Jesus Christ shine through us, if we are genuinely filled with a sense of Christian service, we can’t hide His love; it will always shine through and ring true to those who come to visit.
Welcome Home! Welcome to the body of Christ, welcome to a family of believers where you can and will find a place to fit in!
This should be our goal.