The Impact of One Greeter
When I think about God’s work in my life, I see a face without a name, a man whose identity I do not know, but whose inviting smile is etched on my heart.
Growing up in the suburbs of Virginia, church was not a priority, but when I moved in high school to the farmland of Southern Michigan, things began to change. At the request of a friend I began attending church. I lingered in this unfamiliar place because the music and message interested me. But ultimately I stayed because I encountered the love of God in his Word and in the smiling faces of God’s people. And no one displayed that love more than the church greeter whose name has since left my memory.
The Lord’s steadfast love reflected in this man’s consistent presence. Every Sunday when I arrived this elderly man greeted me with hospitality and interest. He inquired of my school, sports, and life in general. Though our conversations were less than 60 seconds each Sunday, his ministry of presence left an indelible mark.
I look back on that man and wonder if he ever knew how much his “mundane ministry” impacted my young life. Probably not. Nevertheless, his inviting love played a significant part in my coming to faith in Christ.
Going to Church is Not Just About You
It is easy to think that our church attendance doesn’t matter. We convince ourselves that no one will miss us if we take a little extra time at the campground or if we go to the stadium instead of the sanctuary, but the truth is: Absent members are greatly missed.
Other church members suffer because your spiritual gifts are not being used for their edification (1 Cor 12:7). Budding Christians miss your presence because they see your absence and begin to believe that it is normal for Christians to be part-timers. And wayward 17 year olds suffer, while they don’t even know it.
Church attendance is often downplayed because “going to church doesn’t save you.” And though that is technically true, such a sentiment is self-focused and short-sighted. While your church attendance may not “save” you, it very well may the means by which God saves someone else. For me, that anonymous doorman’s presence opened more to me than just a door; God used it as a means of opening my heart to receive eternal life in Jesus Christ. His ministry of presence is a lesson for all of us.
Do Not Underestimate Your Ministry of Presence
This Sunday, may we come to church as the Sons of Korah did, desiring to stand at the doorways of God’s temple serving all those who approached (Ps 84:10). May we cast off self-indulgence and indifference and find true joy by serving others with a ministry of presence.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds