A Welcome Sign

This article was written for the front page of this week’s bulletin.

“Welcome to West University Church of Christ!”

Since Monday of this week, drivers on Bissonnet have been greeted with these words, written in the rich, golden light of our new sign. Internet users searching for churches in the area have been greeted by the same message since Tuesday, when our new website went live. These two projects are important avenues for welcoming the people around us. They represent our desire as a community of Christ’s people to exclaim, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you are welcome here!”

I am grateful for all the people who volunteered time, energy, and financial resources in order that made these two projects possible. It’s good to have such instruments for attraction people’s attention and letting them know that our community is a place of welcome, grace, and Holy Spirit-led hospitality.

As exciting as these projects are, however, we mustn’t forget that real welcome begins not with graphics, but with love. No sign, website, or advertising campaign can communicate the life-giving love of Jesus that we find in this church and that we want to extend to others. People will know they are welcome here by the way that we love them, by our own personal invitations to them, by the way that we serve them in the name of Christ. There are just some things that can be communicated around our own dinner tables that cannot be broadcast from billboards or web pages. As the writer of Hebrews puts it: “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained without knowing it” (13:1-2).

My prayer is that our new sign and our new website let the world know that we are a church with arms wide open. May God’s love flow out of us and into our community. May the grace and kindness we receive here be evident to all those around us. May our service and hospitality be like a banner to our friends and neighbors announcing, “Welcome to West University Church of Christ!”