We have all heard the saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression” – sometimes, it is a good one. Some times, not so good. And if it is “less than”, some times you are giving the chance to rectify it – most times, you are not – because, once that opinion or impression is formed, it is hard to change it. Think about it: you go to a restaurant for the first time and the food is horrible, the wait staff is rude and the bill was more than you expected to pay – what are the chances that you will go back to that restaurant? Yeah, slim to none. (or maybe that is just me) The same can be true of our interactions with people – mess up the first time you meet someone, and you may spend a lifetime trying to rectify a bad opinion.
Once a month, on the first Sabbath, it is my job, duty and honor to serve as a hostess at my church. You know – the greeter – that person that you meet at the door as you enter the church. That person (in my opinion) sets the tone for your worship experience. I happen to work with a great group of people: shout outs to Anthony Roy, Sheryl Rogers and my mother. Each person who serves with me is a valuable team member and I enjoy serving with them each month. As a group, we strive to greet everyone coming through the door by name (if possible) and with a bulletin, a smile, a hug, and/or a warm greeting. For visitors to the church, wendirect them to the bathrooms, the mother’s room, or even the pastor’s study when necessary. We strive to control the level of conversation in the lobby (not always easy) and direct the flow of traffic into the sanctuary. We each have our “designated” stations and we work well together as a team. (My opinion, again)
It was during one of these Sabbaths on duty that a young mother and her two children visited the church for the first time. I was on duty in the lobby and I vaguely remember her stating to me that she was visiting for the first time. I saw that she had her hands a little full as she tried to rein in her kids (both under the age of 6, I’m guessing) and find out where the bathrooms were and where her children needed to be for Sabbath School. I vaguely remember directing her to the Cradle Roll and Kindergarten classrooms, and may have even walked her downstairs to escort her daughter to her Sabbath School class. I really don’t remember clearly. I was just doing my job for the day.
Today, I saw that same young mother and her two children in the Mothers Room and she said to me, “you know, you are the reason I keep coming back to Decatur for church.” “Huh? What are you talking about?” “You might not remember, but the first time I came to this church, I asked you a whole lot of questions and needed a lot of assistance, and you were so kind and patient with me and I really appreciated it and that is why I came back to this church.” WOW! I played it off and told her I was probably on duty that day and that she caught me on a “good day” – to which some of my friends in the room, hearing this, quickly agreed. I don’t know what THAT was about (rolling my eyes and shaking my head), but anyway…what a nice thing for someone to say.
There is another old saying, “You may be the only Bible someone ever reads”. You never know how your interaction with someone impacts them. As Christians, we are always to reflect Christ. Not always easy – everyone has a bad day every now and again. But as a rule, when people meet you, they should know there is “something” about you that is different – that you are kind, loving, patient, and caring. I am glad that an encounter I don’t remember in great detail was such a positive one for this young mother and her two children. I am glad that they have found a church home at my church. I pray that our friendship in Christ will grow as we await His soon return. And I pray that all the first impressions you (and I) make in the coming week will be positive ones.