Thursday, August 23, 2007

Come on in.

What is the first thing people say to you when you walk into church? What about when you walk into a department store, or grocery store? Do they say anything at all? Do they have a big smile on their face and they just can't wait to greet you, so they walk towards you with their arms outstretched ready to greet you? Maybe they are just standing there and you know they really don't want to be there at all, but they have to. Do you even notice if there is someone to greet you when you walk into a restaurant or church, or are you too preoccupied with the list in your hand, the children at your side, and the time on the clock to pay attention?
What we say to someone the moment they walk into our place can affect their whole attitude the remainder of their stay with us. You certainly don't greet people who come to your home with a frown and a gruff tone of voice - "Come in. The house is a mess. We knew you were coming, but didn't care to clean up." Or, do you welcome people into your home with a smile and a cheerful tone - "Come on in. We've taken care of everything! We're so glad you could make it. Please make yourself comfortable and at home. We've made some snacks."
What welcoming words would make you want to come in and would help to set the tone for the visit. Think about how you greet people when they come to church. Do your words and actions make them want to stay, or turn around and run right out the door?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Welcome Basket

A little over 10 years ago, Don & I moved to Butler and rented a little one bedroom house on Carrington Avenue. Shortly after moving in, a friendly neighbor dropped by and presented us with a "Welcome Basket". Inside were gift certificates for local restaurants, hair salons, a map of Butler and places of interest, as well as a variety of flyers and brochures. (Not to mention the homemade goodies!) The Welcome Basket made us both feel so good. We were fairly new to Butler as we didn't grow up around here and only met while attending Slippery Rock University. This Welcome Basket made us feel at home in our new place, and welcome in our new neighborhood.

I look back on that Welcome Basket and think if only everyone were always that nice to others. What if we gave a "Welcome Basket" to people that came to our church (visitors and members alike)? I'm not talking a real basket full of gift certificates and homemade goodies, but a Welcome Basket of Love. A basket filled with joy and happiness. A basket filled with an open invitation to experience the love of a community of God's children. A basket that lets people know we are interested in getting to know them, and sharing our community of faith. A basket to let people know that we are "Loving People, Loving God". Imagine if you were to receive a Welcome Basket of Love every time you walked into church or a restaurant, or a department store, or or or...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What does your label say?

Do you know what's so great about those nutrition LABELS they put on foods? You know everything about what you're going to eat or drink, even if you've never tried it before! The LABEL tells you how healthy the item is, or how unhealthy the item is. The LABEL tells you how many servings are in the package, and how many calories you're going to consume. How many fat grams, and trans fats, and saturated fats you'll be ingesting. A LABEL gives you these scientific ingredients that half the people can't even pronounce! What are red dye # 7 and yellow dye # 4 anyway? And can you really believe that they put ACID in your food? Honestly!!
Isn't it a shame people don't come with LABELS? That would take all the guesswork out of knowing who you want to get-to-know better. Who wants to have an actual conversation with someone when they could just ask to see their LABELS? We could all carry around an ID card in our wallets that would have a full description of what's inside us. For example:

Serving Size - 5' 9" female
Servings per container - 1
Calories - None of your business, but more than enough to go around
Total Fat - Too much!
Age - 33
Eyes - Blue (wears contacts, NOT colored)
Hair - Brown, Medium length
Vitamins Amount/serving Total Fat Amount/serving
Laughter 22% Angry 25%
Unending Smiles 95% Grouchy 45%
Perky 70% Mean spirited 5%
Silly 60% Lack of smiles 5%
Funny 73% Depressed 45%
Good listener 75% Procrastinator 80%
Creative 90%
Employed 100%
Patient 25%
Married 100%
Big Heart 100%
Christian 100%
Mother 100%
Daughter 100%

Would you want to get to know me based on my LABELS alone? Don't worry, I won't have hard feelings. Throughout my life, I've met many people that have only looked at my outer LABELS (as I'm sure you have) and haven't taken the time to find out who I am on the inside. For me, I think it's much more interesting to actually have a conversation with someone, rather than just asking to see their LABELS. Just think of all the people you would miss out on meeting if you only saw them for what they were on the outside...