DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’d like to start going to church, but the only time I’ve been, no one greeted me or made any attempt to make me feel welcome. I guess they realized I didn’t belong. Maybe I’m just not cut out for churchgoing. — N.M.
DEAR N.M.: I’m sorry you didn’t feel welcome, but I seriously doubt if anyone was deliberately ignoring you. Unfortunately, visitors often get overlooked (particularly in larger churches), and one reason I wanted to reprint your letter is to encourage churches to do more to make visitors feel welcome.
Don’t, however, let this experience discourage you from seeking a church home. God wants to bring us closer to himself, and one of the ways he does this is through our fellowship with other believers. As you hear sermons that point you to Christ and have other opportunities to learn about him, you’ll discover just how much God loves you and can help you. You’ll also learn from the example of other believers.
The Bible says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together … but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). The most important truth I can tell you, however, is that Jesus Christ will never turn his back on you or ignore you. He loves you and wants to welcome you into his family!
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Jesus’ invitation is for you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Begin your journey of faith by turning to Jesus and receiving him into your life today.
Then ask God to guide you to the church he has for you. No church is perfect, and churches differ from each other, but God has one for you. Trust him to guide you to it, and then use it to bring you closer to Christ.
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