1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
Once when I was in college, I visited a Baptist church. The time came to pass the peace—exchanging handshakes with fellow worshipers. I turned to the man next to me and said, “I’m sorry I don’t know your name—I’m not a member of this church.” His reply astounded me: “Today you came here. Today you are a member of this church!"
Since then, I have never visited a new church feeling like a complete stranger. I like to think that this is the way Paul imagines church—not as a private club but rather as a community center—a place where all rejoice, pray, and invite the Spirit, a place where everyone has membership.
Do you feel welcome when you go to church? If not, have you tried being the one who welcomes others?