Articles By Henderson Hwy SDA Church

Make the First Move


This point is often underrated because it’s a simple one.

Make the first move. Be the initiator.

Some business establishments seem to have this concept mastered. They want our dollars and our repeat business. One way to make the potential spending experience memorable is to value their clients. Staff are assigned to welcome everyone who comes on their premises. Whether they are a familiar face or not, everybody is greeted. Clients may even be asked if they need help finding a particular product or area for their needs. Then they are escorted or passed off to another staff member who can best assist them.

Ideally, the church setting operates in a similar manner. As Christians, we should be highly interested in everyone who comes through our church doors because this is a chance for them to meet Jesus and experience His love. We don’t know what may have impelled someone to visit our church. They may be coming due to tradition or because they were invited or for any reason in between. If we all make an effort to proactively greet everyone, whether they are familiar to us or not, it would brighten the atmosphere in our church.

Smiling is not a duty reserved only for the greeter team. We can all get into the habit of smiling at each other first. It does take courage to say ‘hello’. With practice, however, it will soon become natural. We may not know all the answers, but we can direct our guests to someone who is better equipped to assist them.

Let’s work on making the first move. We don’t need to wait or assume that anyone else is doing it. It is harmless and heartwarming for our guests and members to receive dozens of smiles.

 

 

___________________
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

 

EndItNow Campaign


Barcelona. Charlottesville. Winnipeg.

These are beautiful cities with rich histories. They are filled with amazing people who are living through fantastic and jaw-dropping stories. Yet, these cities have been in news headlines this week for reasons other than their beauty.

When we, as humans, choose to focus more on our differences rather than our similarities, boundaries get crossed. This often results in abuse and violence. When we view fellow humans as inferior for any reason, we are insulting God, the Creator of mankind.

Abuse is not God’s ideal for us, His creation. Yet, sadly, we are not immune to abuse or its effects, even among believers.

Abuse is nasty!

Everyone is affected, whether directly or indirectly, by various forms of abuse and its long lasting effects. To help combat this issue, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists has created the enditnow campaign. They are working to empower local churches and their respective communities to break the cycle of abuses around them. In addition to destroying these devastating cycles, they aim to strengthen the good and help with the restoration process.

Our Women’s Ministry team will be leading out in worship on August 26. They will focus on EndItNow, which occurs annually on the fourth Saturday in August. In addition to raising awareness to the issues of abuse and violence, the team wants to provide local support and resources for our church and surrounding community in Winnipeg.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a free pastors’ summit on abuse which will be live-streamed on Monday, September 11. This event, intended for adult audiences, is scheduled for 11:00 am to 3:30 pm. Though pastors are the target audience, the information will be useful for leaders regardless of your platform. Some of the presentations include: Child-to-Child Bullying, Misapplied Scriptures, Teen Dating Violence and more.

Look for the ‘Lost Look’


As children, we may have been taught who to look for if we were lost. There are people available who are able to assist those who need help.

In the church setting, things are different. Our guests may not know who is available to assist them. We need to proactively seek them out. Many people have a look of uncertainty when visiting some place new for the first time. Those of us who have been attending here for years have had time to get used to the facility and the people. Imagine what it feels like to walk through these doors for the very first time. As you enter the front doors of our church, you’re on a landing between two sets of stairs. Immediately, you’ve got to take action: do you go upstairs or downstairs?

If someone looks like they don’t know where to go, then they probably don’t. Let’s step out of our comfort zones and offer help. In this moment, we’re directing them to the right place or person. As an added challenge, don’t just tell them where to go. Show them. Walk with them to the appropriate location.

Think of the ‘lost look’ as an ice breaker. This is a moment to welcome them to our church and make a loving impression. We may be the first contact they have when they enter. We don’t have to be an official part of the Greeter Ministry in order to welcome someone to our church.

Our guests have a variety of reasons why they visit with us. Regardless of their reasons for coming, we can be consistent and intentional in caring for our guests. We can do our best to love everyone who comes through our doors because Jesus loves them. Caring for our guests is an active example of Jesus’ love.

Small interactions, when done in love, make lasting impressions.

 

___________________
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Move to the Middle

The coveted seats at most performances are front and center. Many fans willingly spend their money for prime seating. Shows are attended with anticipation of being as close to the action as possible. The further away the seats, the less enjoyable the experience tends to be. Very rarely do people brag that their seats were in the farthest corner of the highest tier of a stadium or arena. ‘Nose-bleed’ section is the term commonly applied, suggesting that the experience from that high may be hazardous not only to the overall experience, but to our health.

Do we approach the church setting with enthusiasm? Imagine if we flocked for worship the same way we do for shows. What if we value the middle of the pews the same way we value arena seating? Treat the middle like premium seating for our worship experience. This would do a couple things.

First, it’s a sign that those who regularly attend our church are excited. They are happy to be there, eager to engage in worship. It gives an impression that Henderson Highway Church is the place to be.

Second, sitting towards the middle leaves visible space for others who need seating. It can be awkward visiting an unfamiliar location, uncertain if there’s room. Move to the middle so guests don’t have to walk over us. Trying to find a seat is part of what keeps newcomers away—it’s hard enough to come in and just sit down! Moving to the middle also leaves room for families with younger children, who may need to be in and out of the sanctuary and for those who may need to slip out of church early.

Let’s try moving towards the center. We will survive in our new location!
___________________
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Everyone’s Favourite Word


How do you feel when someone calls you by name?

Everyone likes to hear their name. Imagine visiting a church and on the second visit, someone we met the previous week calls us by name. We would feel noticed, remembered, and welcome! Learning names shows our interest in guests. We are actively getting acquainted with them beyond what their faces look like.

It’s endearing to hear our names spoken. Bonus points to those who attempt to pronounce our name correctly! It’s a sign that they care about us. The things that are most precious to us receive the a higher level of care and attention. Some of us name our favourite things, for example. Our vehicles may have a name; our stray pets; our favourite piece of furniture or an appliance. We name them because they are valuable.

There are establishments in our city where the staff prioritizes learning their clients by name. We get that warm fuzzy feeling when someone who is a nearly a stranger greets us specifically with “Hi ___________! Good to see you!” Why do they bother to do this? Other than keeping their sales records climbing and earning positive feedback and high-rated customer service reviews, they don’t really need to learn their customers names.

In the church setting, however, our reason for learning names goes much deeper. Yes, we’d love to have our Sabbath Schools and worship services at an overflowing capacity. We’d love to see guests and regular church-goers alike buzzing with excitement when they enter our doors because of the love they feel in our facility. But there’s more. Anyone who enters our door for any occasion is valuable to God. They are one of His beloved creations. If God has called us all by name because we are His (Isaiah 43:1), then that’s the standard we should follow when caring for each other and our guests. In calling each other by name, we are showing a higher level of care of who is precious to God.

Let’s work on learning names. We may need to ask a guest to write their name for us or spell is out. It may mean having the guest repeat the pronunciation a few times in order to get the proper accents and emphasis in the correct spots. During the week, practice. Loving others is worth the effort.

___________________
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Smile Like You Mean It

There is a well-loved song that many churches use during their welcoming time. The lyrics are:

Smile
Everybody smile, everybody smile, everybody smile
Smile
Everybody smile, everybody smile, everybody smile

Let us greet somebody in Jesus’ name
Let us tell them that we love them in Jesus’ name
We’ll tell them we can work together in Jesus’ name
Everybody smile
Jesus loves you
Everybody smile
Jesus loves you

The Bible describes various interactions with Jesus. The commonality is that He was warm and friendly to everybody. There were times when He used many words, and times when a look or a touch was the sole interaction. Have you noticed how many times people complained about Jesus being unfriendly or grumpy? That He had a repelling scowl on His face that kept people away?

A smile is a sign that Jesus’ love is noticeably present. It does not imply that church is perfect or that its attendees are without struggles. However, a smile is a sign of hope. Despite what is happening to us, we choose to trust God and put our hope in Him.

One benefit of coming to church is the assembly of people. Regardless of why you choose to attend, no one comes for a negative experience. I have never heard anyone declare that they attend church intending to have a terrible time. We like to call ourselves ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Christ. With God as the head of our family, we should strive to maintain a loving environment. One that is also attractive to our guests.

A simple way to get along is to smile. Smiles can be less threatening than a verbal greeting. A smile can be given in silence. It’s an ice-breaker that bridges gaps and warms hearts. A smile is affirmation for guests; we are happy that they’ve come to our church. A smile shows that the regular attendees are content where they are and want to let it be known. Guests feel more at ease when they see smiling people. A smile shows that we’ve put effort into our countenance. A universally understood sign, a smile shows acceptance and love.

A smile may be the one thing a person needs to feel welcome! Let’s practice to form a smiling habit. Before you verbally greet someone, may our smiles be the first impression they see.

You can always choose to resume your somber expressions when you get home.

___________________
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

 

 

 

Total Devotion: Jonathon Rowe

“There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation”. Selected Messages, Book 1 pp124