“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more” (1 Thess. 4:9-10).
Paul in 1 Thess. 4:9-10 commends the Thessalonians on their brotherly love and encourages them to keep on loving one another. I feel that way, and I am sure you do too about the Camden Ave. congregation, we are a warm and friendly group of Christian but Paul would want us to keep up the good work in being friendly and kind to one another. Not only is this biblical but it is also important to growing the church of Christ.
In a recent survey by Thom S. Rainer, he reported that 41% of Non-Christians who became Christians and 61% of Christians who transferred their membership to another congregation came because of the friendliness of the congregation. Of course, there are other major factors like evangelism, doctrine, and Biblical preaching, but we must not overlook friendliness of the members of the congregation, our friendliness is important to helping teach and showing the lost what we believe about Christ and His Word.
Many individuals have either turned to or away from the Lord because of the welcome extended or neglected by a local church. All Christians should be concerned about being friendly and greeting one another especially our guests at every service. Here are some suggestions that may help each of us in greeting those who visit the services of the church:
- Go to our guests and welcome them; do not wait for them to come to you and introduce yourself.
- Greet all age groups.
- After you have met them, help introduce them to others.
- Especially if they have children show them their classroom, nursery, and restrooms.
- Make sure they receive a bulletin.
- Invite them to other church activities, church dinners, or out to lunch.
- Ask them to fill out a visitor’s card and place it in the offering basket.
- Ask them to sit beside you.
- Invite them back to our next time of meeting.
“Five minutes—that is all it takes to make a positive or negative impression on guests to our worship services. Those first impressions often determine if guests will return. Because those first five minutes are so important, we want to do everything we can to make sure our guests are sought out, greeted, and made to feel welcome.
I am asking ALL of our members to take one simple step to help make sure our guests feel welcome. For the first five minutes before or after each worship service is started or dismissed, will you look for guests to greet. This is the most important thing we can do to be seen as a friendly and warm congregation. Will you invest five minutes in eternity?” (Adopted from: http://yourchurchcangrow.com)
Remember: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly…” (Proverbs 18:24).
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
Growing Churches have elders who are spiritual men of wisdom and vision who are deeply interested in the souls they shepherd. (1 Thes. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-7)
Growing Churches have deacons who believe they must be servants in order to become deacons, and as deacons, they rejoice at the privilege to serve. (1 Tim. 3:8-13)
Growing Churches have preaching that exalts Christ and His word, that proclaims the “whole counsel of God,” and challenges members and non-members in a bold yet loving way to draw nearer to God. (2 Tim. 4:2-4, Acts 20:27, Eph. 4:15)
Growing Churches have an educational program that stimulates members to know more of God’s word and to better apply its truth to everyday life. (2 Pet. 3:18, Eph. 4:2)
Growing Churches regard worship as a privilege rather than a chore. The singing is enthusiastic, the Lord’s Supper is thoughtfully observed, prayers are humbly offered, and the brethren give generously as they have prospered. People bring their Bibles and study because they want to know God. (John 4:24, Ps. 116:12, Eph. 5:19, Jam. 5:16, 1 Cor. 16:1-2)
Growing Churches make visitors feel at home. Others can see the unity, warmth, and love that exists among the people of God. (John 13:34-35)
Growing Churches make a diligent effort to teach the lost and restore the fallen. (Acts 5:42, Gal. 6:1-2)
Growing Churches have young people who are cared for by the whole church and who act as examples of the faith. (1 Tim. 4:12)
Growing Churches respond to goals and challenges because every member is focused on glorifying Christ. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Growing Churches exhibit the mind of Christ by being humble, serving and obedient to the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Taken from http://www.skywayhills.org/bulletin_PDF/2007_7_29.pdf
By Harold Shank
Taken From Bulletin Digest P.O. Box 575 Cisco, Tx 76437
Why should I invite? Oscar Wilde's Aunt Jane once gave a grand party. She died of embarrassment when nobody came. It was only at her funeral that it was revealed that she had never mailed the invitations.
People come to church because they are invited. It is one thing for us to logically see that point, and quite another thing to permit ourselves to actually issue an invitation.
We don't want to bother people. We don't want to be embarrassed. We don't want to raise the religious question because it makes us uncomfortable. Yet, we do other things that are not comfortable. We paint the house in 90-degree weather because we know we'll have more problems if we don't. We squirm all day before we ask the boss for a raise, but we do it because we need the extra money.
We invite people to church because Jesus set the example and raised our expectations. You know the verse about "seeking and saving the lost" and "go into all the world." Our culture tells us "don't bug others," and "live and let live." The contrast between what society demands and what our Savior expects is clear.
We invite, not because it is easy or comfortable or acceptable, but because it is part of our role as Christians. A 19th-century philosopher told a story about a man seeing a sign in a store window in a small European town. The sign said, "Pants Pressed Here." He went in and started to remove his trousers. The clerk asked what he was doing. The man said, "I saw your sign and wanted my pants pressed." The clerk responded, "Oh, we don't press pants here. We just paint signs."
It says "Church of Christ" out in the front of our building. Do we serve him and others for Him, or do we just paint signs?
Joe Bailey in his book "A View From a Hearse" tells of the day his boy died of cancer. He had returned to the clinic to thank them for their kindness and care of his son. As he spoke to the receptionist, she motioned toward a woman whose son was playing quietly with toys in the waiting area. "He has the same cancer your son had," she said. "Why don’t you go over and see if you can talk with her.” Bailey went reluctantly over to sit next to her and they whispered just out of hearing of the boy. "It must be hard bringing him in for the treatments," he said, more a statement than a question. "Hard," she turned with anguish in her eyes. "I die every time I have to bring him in. What makes it worse is that I know it’s not going to stop the cancer and that he’s going to die.” Uncomfortable, Bailey ventured: "Still it is some comfort to know that when that happens there is no more pain and suffering and that they go to a better place.” "No," with hardness in her voice. "When he dies, I’m just going to bury him in the cemetery, and I’ll never see him again. "Bailey wanted to leave. It was uncomfortable to be reminded of his loss and even more uncomfortable to speak with this woman who obviously had no hope in any way. Then he spoke quietly, "I buried my boy just yesterday, and I’ve only come today to thank the doctors and nurses for their kindness. I know what you’re feeling but I also know that there is a better life for my son now." "How could you believe such a thing," she challenged. And then Joe Bailey told her about Jesus.
The hymn writer tells us "I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me he has made known. Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love, redeemed me for His own.... But I know whom I have believed….” (By Daniel Webster Whittle).
Do you know who you believe in? The Bible tells us that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Then in Mark 16:16 we see that belief results in one being baptized into Christ, and once one is baptized, they continue believing in Jesus Christ (Heb. 11:6). Without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, there is no Heaven for the sinner.
As we go through this week remember what Christ has done and is doing to give eternal life to those who believe and obey the Gospel. Ask yourself, “If the Lord were to come right now. Would I know for sure, nothing doubting that I would go to Heaven to be with Christ?
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
Baptism for many is a controversial subject. But regardless of what you or I think, baptism is commanded by God. Jesus said that He needed to be baptized (Matthew 3:15) and that's why He came to John the Baptist. Now, it is clear that Jesus did not need baptism to wash away His sin - for He had no sin.
Why then was Jesus baptized? John the Baptist wondered the same thing and in Matthew 3:14 he tried to deter Jesus and said "I need to be baptized by you. Why do you come to me? And Jesus responded by saying that it is proper for us to do this in order to fulfill all righteousness." The phrase "to fulfill all righteousness" simply means to "obey God's righteous commands."
Jesus did not need to be baptized to receive cleansing from sin. But He did need to be baptized to demonstrate obedience to God because God had ordained baptism in the ministry of John the Baptist.
Jesus is our example. Peter said, "To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus also left us an example by being baptized. In effect, Jesus is saying, "I'm not going to ask you to do what I am unwilling to do myself." We need to follow "in the steps" of Jesus and be baptized.
Unlike, Jesus though we have sinned and Jesus commanded that those who believe in Him must be baptized (Matt 28:19,20, Mark 16:15,16, and John 3:5). Peter speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit teaches in Acts 2:38, “…Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When the Lord appeared to Saul, He told him to go to Damascus and it would be told him what he must do. Ananias came and told Saul. "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name' " (Acts 22:16). Saul also teaches us that he did not hesitate and neither should we!
Baptism ties us to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; Jesus obeyed God completely in giving himself for the sins of the world. It is in His death that He shed His blood for our sins. It is in Baptism that we contact it (Rom. 6:1-6). Have you been baptized into Christ for the remission of sins? Think about it! By Mark T. Tonkery