Welcome to One Church – First day Jitters
Have you ever noticed how attending a new church is slightly reminiscent of the first day of school? You wake up hours before your alarm goes off thanks to “first day jitters.” Standing inside your closet you bemoan the fact that you have nothing to wear – well, nothing that you deem good enough to make a positive first impression. Getting ready takes much longer than normal because you want to look your absolute best. As you pull into the parking lot you contemplate whether you really want to go inside. You don’t know anyone in this new place and you’re not sure how you’ll be received.
Questions you ask yourself before walking into a new church
Will people be genuinely kind and welcoming? Will they overwhelm you with questions about your past and how you ended up here? Or will they ignore you altogether and breeze past you with purpose as you flounder about, wondering which door to use and where you should sit? Mustering up the courage to open your car door and step out, you take a deep breath, hope your stomach stops churning and embark on the long walk to the entrance.
The First Thing You See Are Friendly Faces
Once you take that first step into One Church you’re instantly greeted by a friendly face. You’ll soon learn these greeters are not there to give you a rehearsed spiel or compel you to share your life story. As you hear “good morning” or “welcome to One Church,” those defenses you walked in with slowly begin to crumble. Doing a 360 in the lobby you can immediately perceive the overall welcoming atmosphere. People are genuinely happy to see one another as evidenced by warm smiles and hearty hugs. Take a step into the sanctuary and the experience continues to pleasantly surprise you.
The lights go dim.
The musicians take the stage to lead the audience into a heartfelt praise in which you can sense the intimacy between worshippers and their God. With hands raised and tearstained faces turned upward towards heaven, it takes active effort not to feel the distinctive presence permeating the environment. As the music subsides you see a young man take the stage, casually dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a black t-shirt. After a few sentences, it dawns that this laidback character is actually the church’s lead pastor, Pastor Greg. This easygoing demeanor causes you to relax and tune into what he has to share.
This sermon is not quite what you’re used to.
You almost feel as though the pastor is simply sitting down to have a conversation with you – and your previous notions of a lofty, unreachable God are being brought into question. How can Greg chat so easily about topics that are so pertinent to your current life? What’s more, you had no idea the Bible actually had such relevance in today’s world. Sure, you always knew it had a bunch of great stories containing anecdotes and morals, but never did you think you could refer to the Bible for issues you currently deal with. As the words continue to hit home you feel them whetting your appetite, causing you to develop an insatiable desire to learn more.
One Church isn’t about the cliché church experience.
You won’t find someone waiting to judge you for being “inappropriately” dressed; you won’t feel self-conscious for being under (or over) dressed. It’s very apparent that the purpose of this church goes much deeper than physical appearance. The musicians, pastors, hosts are all in this for the same reason: to show the love of Christ. Wherever you are in your walk, you’ll feel accepted and loved. These people aren’t here to change you according to their standards; they simply want you to experience Christ in such a way that you’ll want HIM to make the change in you.
Written by: Dionna Carter