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19 April 2018

Expressing God’s heart in welcome

Gerhild Haitchi Gerhild Haitchi Head of First Impressions & Office Coordinator (Sunday preparation)
FI Meal - group eating

Gerhild Haitchi shares some highlights from our First Impressions team lunch.

If you weren’t there you missed a treat! John Leaver spoiled us with delicious food and our transform workers – Bex Harley-Mason and Dan Jeremy – served us.

FI Meal - helper smiling

Keep going!

John Risbridger shared with us some encouragements for the First Impressions team. He said, —

First Impressions is a special ministry. I love it because:

  • It expresses the Father’s heart, because he is a welcoming God.
  • It reflects the Servant King.
  • It uses gifts of the Spirit: hospitality, help and serving.
  • I so often hear people say how great the welcome is here at Above Bar Church.
  • It makes me proud to be part of the church.
  • It helps so many find their place in the church – both those who are welcomed, served and hosted, and those who serve.
  • I love the variety! Smiling faces of seasoned and young believers alike.

I know it can be tough though, and some of you work so hard.

FI Meal - kitchen

Remember the banquet

God’s banquet in Isaiah 25:6-8 – to which he invites us all – is ultimately a picture of the celebration of the New Creation itself, when Jesus returns and makes everything new.

When we celebrate in church now, it is in anticipation of that banquet and a preparation for it.

This anticipation is why we want to do things well. It is why we are happy to give good coffee, why our welcome is warm! And remembering that gives meaning to everything we do. Ultimately we are part of inviting people to that greatest banquet!

Jesus attended a banquet in Luke 14 and it prompted him to reflect more on the banquet to come!

FI Meal - JNR talk

Remember your place

Read Luke 14:10-11. I think the “servant heartedness” that is so important in First Impressions is a great example of being willing to shun the limelight and take the lower place of serving others.

Remember that such service is beautiful in the sight of God.

And remember too that it will not lose its reward!

FI Meal - group listening

Remember the heart of your host

Read Luke 14:12-14. Why? Because that is what God is like, as the parable that follows shows!

Sometimes it can be hard to welcome those who society sees as outsiders and outcasts. But when we do, we reflect the heart of God, who is the true host.

Remember that surprises are normal!

The parable is all about the people we would expect to come to the banquet turning down the host’s invitation with lame excuses.

What is his response? Read Luke 14:21-24.

Sometimes we think, “He’ll make a good Christian”. But it so rarely works like that.

Often it’s the last people you expect who end up coming.

It is so exciting to work with the God of surprises! That’s what you are doing. Keep encouraging others to catch the vision: you’re the best ambassadors!

If you’d like to join our First Impressions team, speak to any host on a Sunday (wearing a red lanyard) or contact Gerhild through the church office.

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