Recently my wife and I have been visiting other churches. It’s not because we were dissatisfied with our home church and looking for a new place to worship, it was because we wanted to visit a place where friends of our attend. It’s not the first time we’ve done this. We like visiting other places of worship. It’s even enjoyable when the worship experience is one that introduces us to something new that we’ve not been accustomed to. For us, it adds to our collective spiritual enrichment. So imagine our amazement to our visit when approached by several people who would ask us, “Would you like to join?”
I can just imagine right now that you’re thinking to yourself as you read that last sentence, “So, what’s wrong with that?” In one sense, there is nothing that is wrong with it. It shows a great zeal for church membership. What was troubling is what came after the question. You see, when we responded that we were visiting and that we’re already happy with our church home, the conversation quickly and abruptly stopped, and the person who was speaking to us walked away without another word. This wasn’t a one time incident. It had happened before, and with multiple people in a number of churches that we’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
The question that it raised for me was simple: If Church, or more specifically, the body of Christ is supposed to be a living organism that represents family as a community, then why is it that when family goes to visit another family members home of worship, family fellowship seem to cease once it’s known that one family member has their own home to worship?
As Christians we share Christ‘s DNA because of the blood he shed on the cross for us. It’s that thing, along with our confession of faith that unites us into the Sonship of God. The house of worship should unite us as family, regardless where we call home. So when we see someone, we shouldn’t be afraid or put off by others when it’s made known that they have their own place to call home. Don’t you love it when family or friends invite you into their homes? Wouldn’t it seem weird to you if they were to stop speaking to you when they realized you have your own home to live in?
I’ve always viewed my local church assembly as being my community home of worship. So when I’m visiting another church, I always feel as though I’m simply visiting family that I haven’t seen in a while. It’s like the family reunion where you know you’re always meeting people you never knew was a part of your family, but you see the resemblance because there are certain traits that unite you all.
One way to make family or friends feel welcome in your home is by sharing the things you have in common; shared interests and testimonies of faith are helpful in creating dialog beyond an initial hello. Fellowship shouldn’t stop because the opportunity to witness or evangelize is not there. Fellowship should increase because we have the same Father and brother. Then next time you’re visiting another church or someone is visiting your church, check to see how you’re greeted or observe how you’re greeting others. Seek to go deeper into fellowship with those who may call another church “home”.
QUESTION: Do you find yourself in awkward moments with church family from other churches? How do you get past it?