It's a true story. A first-time guest came to the church at the request of the pastor. She was to observe carefully, then write a brief report.
There was one comment that had no explanation, "I knew twenty minutes into the service, I would not want to return." The pastor called her and asked her to elaborate.
"It happened during the stand and greet time," she began. "I'm an introvert, so I don't usually like being asked to greet people I don't know. But I went along with it; I had an assignment to do, and I wanted to make the best of it."
The pastor waited as she paused, and then continued: "Even though I'm an introvert, I made a point of seeking people out. I looked folks straight in the eye," she said."And you know what happened?" she asked rhetorically. "No one greeted me. They avoided eye contact. They were greeting people they knew by first name."
She then spoke softly, "No one said a word to me. No one. I felt so out of place and alone. I would not come back."
How many visitors did you greet Sunday?
May we go out of our way to make people know that we love them before they walk back out our doors. May we be a place that is welcoming.