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Friday, August 17, 2007

Eyes Wide Shut

"Hey come and join us for some pizza, we have plenty!", I shouted to a family riding bike past the park. I was stuffing my face with a piece of pizza and wondering why more families outside of our church didn't show up to our Kamp Kidstuf program that was put on for three nights in the park. I was thankful for those that did. We had maybe a handful of new faces there. Ultimately this program was not for those that are in our church, it was meant to be an outreach tool for all of us to get our neighbors and friends who weren't yet convinced to come and enjoy food, laughter, music and a message. Don't get me wrong. Please hear my heart. I believe what was done was a complete success. I pray that those that were there were stretched and touched to go deeper with God. Those that were just hearing about Jesus for the first time would want more and therefore show up at our Sunday morning door to find out what more was!

This sweet family (Carlos, his two sons, his nephew and niece) were riding by the park on the bike path. I asked them over for pizza (truly an act of God coming from shy me). They kept riding and so I blipped it out of my mind. I started walking back to where the pizza was and noticed out of the corner of my eye the family stopping and getting off of their bikes. My thoughts?...Oh no, now what do I do?! It was awkward, but felt so right. They stepped into the pizza line and got themselves some pizza. As they sat and ate, I tried to get to know them. At the same time, I was looking around and felt like an island. None of my church family was coming over to say hi or to introduce themselves. What?! I thought we were suppose to do this? I thought we were suppose to invite in and as a family come a long side of the new comers and welcome them in?! Was it me? Did I not take the initiative to introduce them to people around me? Was that what I was suppose to do? Are my friend's eyes not open?! Help!

After pizza, I invited them over to sit with me and enjoy the program. To my surprise they did! The little girl was so excited to dance along with the kids who were dancing on stage. I think they really enjoyed it! Way to go church! When the program was over, they headed home and didn't stay for games. They thanked me for inviting them in and asked what organization we were?! I told them who we were and invited them to church on Sunday. I hope they come. I have been praying for them and for God to move.

After climbing into bed, my husband and I briefly discussed what had happened. I confided in my husband and told him I was disappointed with those around me and our church family. I felt as if every one's eyes were shut to what was going on. Like some how we were all busy bees doing our own thing and collecting our needs. I'm at fault. Too often someone new at church has shown up and I have kept on walking. Why didn't I see? Why didn't I go and introduce myself? It doesn't take long! What is wrong with me? Did the person who stepped out and invited feel like I felt? Like they were all alone trying to entertain or welcome their new found friends in? Where was I? Why didn't I come a long side and help?

Obviously God opened my eyes the other night to how newcomers are possibly handled at our church. Please hear my heart, I am not blaming or pointing fingers. I'm just curious what it is that holds me/us back. Are we welcoming? Do we intentionally want them there and let them know that? Or are we busy bees just doing our own thing and collecting what we need? What is it that holds us back from inviting? Do we not trust what it is we are inviting them to?

6 comment(s):

Emily's Entries said...

Wow! You have posted a lot today! A lot has been going on too. I know what you mean about the whole talking to new comers thing. I'm trying to get better at that because I'm shy and if someone talks to me THEN I'll talk but I rarely actually go up to someone I don't know to introduce myself. Sounds like a lot is going on with Nico. Hope all that goes well. Well, I'll talk to you later. Love you!

Emily

Chris Good said...

I have to say when we first came to the quarry the only people who chatted with us were you, Mesha, John, Michael and Brenda. It was very hard to get to know everyone. Everyone seemed to be in there own world. I can see that it would be hard for visitors at our church. I think it's still a issue.

Jenny and Matt said...

Good for you Lori.
Imagine how that little invitation can change someone's life. Maybe they come back to your church. Maybe they become dedicated to Jesus. Maybe you never see them again but you made their day better. Whatever happens, you showed them the welcoming face of God that day. Way to go.

Alleen said...

Glad to see you back blogging!!

Hmmm, lots of food for thought in this post. I really think a lot of it is probably just human nature and that people are shy and hesitant to talk to new people. I know I am that way. Once I get to know someone(which doesn't take long!), you can't shut me up. But, it's very hard for me to make the first move and reach out.

I am sure you made an impact on that family.

Ginger--Maya's mommy said...

Great post!!!

Jennifer said...

Lori -
A beautiful post. I have been so behind...trying to catch up on life - and my blogfriends... and just STUFF. I think you are "spot on" with your comments. I think we all don't open our eyes enough. Thank you for opening mine again!
God Bless YOU!
Jennifer