Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Good Christian Men Rejoice"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 147:18 – He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. (NASB)
I attended a church event which included some fun activities for the Christmas season. The first one was called an "ice breaker" because it was meant to make everyone feel at home. The following names were written on the blackboard: the amazed shepherds, Rudolph, the wise men, the Grinch, Mary, and Frosty the snowman. Then our group was asked to share whom they most identified with. From a mother's perspective, some related to Mary; others associated with the wise men as they thought about their own journey of faith; and there were those who identified with secular characters such as Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman — stories that they perceived as having spiritual application. This was an innovative way to begin the program, and I gleaned new insights from other members of our fellowship.
Afterward, this exercise made me wonder how we might break the ice as we present ourselves to visitors in our congregation. Years ago, when my family were guests in a new church, the lady sitting in front of us immediately turned around and wanted to know if we were saved. I was taken aback by her assertiveness, and I thought that it would have been nicer if she had welcomed us first. I suppose that many people find it a little awkward talking to outsiders who are unfamiliar to them.
One minister recommended that congregants treat visitors as "God's guests" rather than strangers. Another suggested that greeters practice listening skills and engage in real, genuine interactions. First, however, we should prayerfully consider what questions to ask. Then, we can help our guests connect with others by personally inviting them to church programs and special events. The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year to extend an invitation. Perhaps we can think of other ice breakers that will spread the love of Jesus and warm the hearts of our guests during this beautiful time of year.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are a God Who welcomes all people everywhere to worship Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Send forth Your Word, melt our hearts, and grant us a friendly spirit to spread the joy of this Advent season with all who enter the doors of Your church. In Messiah's holy name, we pray. Amen.