The Mission Needs You Here at 9:45

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  • May 21, 2013

This is the second of four posts in our series: For The Love of God (and others), Be On Time

Let me start by giving you reason 1,458,996 why I love the people of Seven Mile Road Church. This Sunday, we already did better at being on time for service. So grateful for your receptivity and response. With that in mind, let me offer a second reason (here’s the first) why you should make every effort to be on time.

Because the mission needs you.

What do I mean? There’s a good chance you’ve forgotten what it was like to visit a church for the first time. By now, you come to Sunday service and you know most of the people in the room. You fit. You belong. You know the building. You know what to expect. You know when to sit and when to stand. You know what kind of songs we’ll sing and how the service flows. In fact, it’s all so familiar that if you’re not careful, you’ll go through the motions carelessly. You have to fight off the temptation to tune out during our giving or mindlessly mouth the words of the Apostle’s Creed without marveling at what your tongue is confessing. Everything is familiar.

When you’re a visitor, it’s the exact opposite. Everything is new. Sometimes uncomfortably new. You find this church by looking it up online or hearing about it from a friend. You pull into the parking lot hoping you won’t regret coming. You walk into the doors and are greeted by people you don’t know. Many of them are Indians. That’s weird.  You walk down the steps and then here’s the worst part: the room is empty.

Visitors always come on time. Always. They go online and see that the service starts at 10am. So they expect that the service actually starts at 10am. And when you’re a visitor, what you hope for is to simply blend in. The last thing you want to do is stand out. But it’s hard to blend in when you’re sitting in a row, by yourself, at 10:05 wondering where everybody is.

Our mission is to see people in our area come to know Jesus. And that happens, in part, through corporate worship on Sundays. And the mission needs you here for the sake of our visitors. You believe the gospel. The good news that the King of the universe welcomed you. And so you desire to welcome others. You care so deeply about people that you want to do everything you can to make them feel comfortable. A conversation with you can make a world of a difference in how a visitor experiences Sunday morning.

Seven Mile Road family, I am not talking down at you. I’m talking to myself. The issue is not ultimately about punctuality. The issue is our heart and whether our heart loves people enough to be mindful of them on Sundays. I often hide behind the label “introvert” as an excuse to why I don’t talk with new folks. How can we claim to be on mission, and then not welcome, greet, and engage the very people that we are on mission to! We need to repent.

Jesus cares about hospitality. How we welcome people matters. It reveals what’s going on in our hearts (Luke 7:44-47). So, Seven Miler, God has entrusted you with His mission. That mission involves loving people who need Jesus. On Sundays, the mission needs you here at 9:45am.

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For part three of this series, click here.

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About Ajay Thomas

Ajay lives in Philadelphia with his wife Shainu and their kids Hannah and Micah. He is responsible for preaching and vision as a pastor at Seven Mile Road. He loves God, family, food, and football - in that order.

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