I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. —Matthew 25:35
Strangers. We have all been the stranger at some point in our life. We have been the unfamiliar face that seems to stand out, no matter how much we may want to blend in. Whether it’s starting a new job, joining a book club, or—the most intimidating of all—church shopping. (Dun, dun, dun! Can you hear the crashing cymbals and music behind me as I say that?)
Being the new person is scary. Questions can begin to circulate in your head as you walk into a new place for that first time: Did I dress up too much (or down too much)? Did they form these tight circles of people before or after I came in? Am I standing out too much? Do we have anything in common? Am I going to fit in?
Taking that first step into a new situation and opening yourself up is a challenge we all face, and it never seems to get any easier. It can feel even more sensitive in a church setting, because people walk through those doors with very unique, emotional, and broken stories. Some people feel farther from God than they ever have, and some still haven’t found Him at all. Others walk in and feel great about themselves and their relationship with God. Churches have the unique opportunity to welcome in one and all. There is so much noise in our world and our day-to-day lives that we all need (and deserve) a quiet place to come and rest with God. As the Ministry Coordinator at Summit Lake Mary, the main part of my job is creating that kind of space. A space that eliminates the noise from the outside world and allows everyone to feel welcomed and wanted as one of God’s children.
I started this job the week we kicked off The Extra Mile campaign. The idea of a permanent space for Lake Mary was so exciting! But at the time, I don’t know that I truly grasped the gravity of what we were doing, not only to further God’s Kingdom, but also for the community around us. It continually hits me that I get to play a part in creating a space that will simultaneously give people who are far from God the opportunity to find Him, and give people who already know Him the chance to deepen their relationship with Him. What a cool position God has put me in! It is a position I rarely feel worthy of, but I am honored to work for Him in this way.
My prayer as we get closer to opening the doors of this building is that the people who walk through these doors into a well thought-out, intentionally created space will get the sense that they have never been a stranger to God. I pray they will know this place was created for them, to help eliminate some of the noise in their lives and feel God’s presence. No matter where life finds them that day, that hour, or that minute, my hope is that strangers and partners alike would feel welcomed and loved—not just by me and our team of volunteers, but by God, who created them so perfectly.
The first impression does really matter, and it is my prayer this building will not just make one heck of a first impression, but a lasting one.
Amy in the future Summit Lake Mary Lobby!
If you would like to participate financially, you can give to The Extra Mile campaign online or by check. Click here for more information.
Read more blog updates about The Extra Mile here.