Next week, my son begins middle school--a rising 7th grader. This morning, I dropped him off at school for one of those orientation things they do these days. It's designed to help them learn their way around the building, meet teachers and friends and get adjusted before school actually starts next week.
As we wound our way through the neighborhood headed towards the school, I noticed he was a little quiet so I asked him the obvious question, "Are you nervous?" "A little," he said. So I shifted into the mode of encourager and told him that he would be fine. "I understand you are a little nervous. Most people are at times like these. I wouldn't expect anything different from you. Just keep in mind, when you walk through those doors, everyone else there is in the same position you are--new, finding there way, a little nervous and a little excited."
He turned and gave me one of his classic grins and then we spent a few seconds praying for him in the car as we rode.
I was reflecting on that conversation as I sat in my office this morning. It caused me to think of our church, any church for that matter. Don't you imagine that's what people feel when they enter a church for the first time or the first time in a long time...nervous or apprehensive. If only we could put an "encourager" in the parking lot (or in their den or in their driveway or wherever the thought first hits) for everyone of them. Just some voice to say, "We understand that you are nervous. We all were at some point. Just keep this in mind, when you walk through those doors, everyone else is in the same position you are--finding their way, a little nervous and a little excited."
I pray that, if you're new to this whole idea of faith and a relationship with God and you are reading this blog, you will hear those words. For every single person who ever invited God into their life, there was fear and nerves and sweat and doubt and worry. None of us knew what to expect when we "walked" into the faith experience for the first time. We just walked. And I invite you to do the same thing. Just walk. Know that you are not alone. Millions have been in your shoes; millions more will follow. But you do not have to have all the answers to take that first step. It's a step we have all taken at some point and the sheer joy of what followed has caused us to take many more. Remember, whoever you are, you are not alone...