Pastor's Ponderings

     Have you ever wondered what motivates people to get involved and join a particular church and not another? Research again and again underscores why people select a particular church to be a part of. A "Good Church Location" was #10 on a list of 16 reasons. "My Spouse Was A Member" was #15. The #1 Reason people select a church today is "I Feel Accepted".
     In the research, ACCEPTANCE was defined as "love in action" and the definition of Love was "intentionally doing something caring or helpful for another person in Jesus' Name, regardless of the cost or consequences to oneself". The world is a place where people of all ages are feeling more and more isolated. Individuals and families, by necessity, have become more mobile and transient. Fast-paced lives threaten the ability of neighbors to be "neighborly" to one another Loneliness has become a common theme in the existence of many people's lives.
     As a result, when people are looking for a church home, they are looking for a place where they are loved and accepted. They read in the Bible and hear sermons and Sunday School lessons about the compassion of Jesus. They can't help but notice how the Lord always had time to minister and care for people. So when they enter a church, they are looking for that some atmosphere of warmth and compassion. They are hoping to find followers of Jesus who genuinely care about them and welcome them into the church family.
     The research also indicates that most visitors determine if they want to come back before they leave the first time. In other words, we normally do not get a second chance to make a good first impression. What a challenge that reality is to us as a church family at First Baptist Church! We are called to open our arms to those who are seeking to discover a relationship with the Lord Jesus and welcome them into the family. We are called to be patient and helpful with those whose paths in life have been difficult and who are searching for answers. We are called to be the love of Christ to those who are looking for a place to grow and serve our Lord.
The question is: Are We Up To The Challenge?
   I believe we are. Just yesterday I received an email from someone who visited us this past Sunday. In the email, she made this comment: "Your congregation is incredibly friendly and welcoming of guests." That is very encouraging to hear, isn't it? But we want to make sure this is the experience of everyone who walks into the services and gatherings of the FBC family. We cannot get complacent.
" Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."  (Colossians 3:12,14)
Responding to the challenge with you,

Pastor Joel