Once we have seen a person’s heart touched for God, the second priority of our church is to include him or her as a part of the church family. Acts 2:41 states, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” People need a family or a place where they are loved and where they belong. Ephesians 2:19 says, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Being included in a church family happens in different ways depending on the situation. But whatever the situation, we want every guest to feel included and welcome as soon as he or she arrives on the church property. Specifically, this happens at two major levels.
- Through membership: First, we know the Bible teaches that every person should be included as an identifiable member of a local assembly. Thus, a priority of our church ought to be to include guests in the life of this congregation to the point that they unite with this body of believers. Membership is accomplished in two basic ways:
- First, a person can get saved and follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.
- Second, if they have already been saved and baptized in a church of like faith, they can join by statement of faith in Christ.
- Through fellowship: The importance of hospitality, encouragement and communication are key elements to keeping a church family close. Paul says in Romans 12:10, 13, 15, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality; Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”