You may or may not have noticed this before, but the trend at New City is to be late. Events almost always start on time, but our people are usually trickling in up to 20 minutes after the service starts. And hey, I get it. Sunday mornings can be crazy, especially if you’ve got kids. Stuff happens that is out of your control. I understand. However, there’s one really good reason why it’s worth the effort to make being on time, or even early to church the rule, rather than the exception. Are you ready?
Have you thought of it that way? Missional means “of or relating to a mission.” What’s our mission? To help people live in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first step toward that mission is for people to hear the gospel. And they will hear it every single week at New City. So here’s how it’s missional to be on time to church.
Do you know who is almost always going to show up on time or early? A first-time visitor. They don’t know exactly what to expect, so they will usually want to show up a few minutes early, to make sure they can figure out where to go and find somewhere to sit. How will you be able to greet those new people if you’re not here? Maybe you’ll have a chance after church, but maybe not.
Visitors often have kids, too. The check-in process takes a little bit longer the first time. Our kids area can get pretty chaotic when everyone shows up right at or before the service time. If you’re able to come a little early, get your kids checked in and move on upstairs, that makes check-in smoother and less overwhelming for new families.
Usually visitors will be early, but not always As you’re moving upstairs, they’re usually easy to spot. They often look a little unsure. Sometimes they’re stand-offish, waiting for someone to approach them. And they’re not wrong to do that! We should each be keeping our eyes open for new faces and intentionally reaching out to them. Yes, we have a Connect team who greet and almost always catch new people. But, truly, we are all responsible for making newcomers feel welcome. If you’re always running late to church, rushing upstairs to the service, you likely won’t even notice the first-time visitors who might be standing there wondering where to go.
Here’s the point: When you come early, get your kids checked in (if you have them), get upstairs and help make visitors feel welcome, you’re removing barriers to the gospel being heard, and increasing the likelihood that those visitors will come back and hear it again. You're being missional!
So come early, be friendly, and welcome others as Christ has so lovingly welcomed us into his family.
And remember, prelude starts at 8:55 and 10:55!