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by Stan Peterson

First impressions are lasting impressions! When I first visited Elim what I remember most were the great people and being welcomed into the fellowship by individuals who had the heart of God. These people were focused upon God, thus being able to turn away from themselves and look outward to those who were new. What makes up a great church is great people who serve a great God. We the church are living stones who carry the presence of God wherever we go, building up a spiritual house (1 Peter 2.5). We here at Elim desire to be a great church displaying a great God.

Starting on September 11 there will be a notable difference upon entering the sanctuary for our corporate worship. At each entrance we will have posted a servant (greeter). These servants will display the heart of God by welcoming all who cross the threshold. The servants will greet with the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of Christ. The mission of the greeter is to greet and connect those who come through our doors. first to greet: This is a dual purpose task.

1. The servant is on the frontline to greet all who come through our doors.

2. To stand as a marker to remind those who are not on the greeting team to be engaged and greet other’s as well.

We as the body are all commanded to greet one another 1 Th 5.26 “Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss” (no kissing please) and 3 John 14. greet the friends by name. To greet in the New Testament means to be happy about something on the basis that it would prove particularly welcome (thus implying a type of future orientation). As we greet we are filled with joy by anticipating what God is going to do in and through each individual. This is where the power of God is unleashed by the Holy Spirit in YOU! Our God is limitless in what he can do in and through a body that is yielded to the Spirit. This all starts as people enter in to commune with our God and each other, this is exciting!

Second, the greeter will be a connector! He or she will be used by God to connect guests and members with God and each other. This is done by the Holy Spirit and comes out in FRUIT of the Spirit Gal. 5.22 and gifts of the Spirit displayed by the Body of Christ. This is worked out through pointing guests to our information table where they can talk with a greeter and learn more about Elim and who we are. This process of connection will be a starting point for our guests to become fully absorbed into this local Body of Christ.

Who is qualified to be a greeter? All who call Elim home should consider themselves a qualified greeter. God commands us to greet one another. This means that this is a ministry that the WHOLE Body of Christ should be involved in and not just a certain few (greeting team). Please contact me if you are interested in serving God and others in this capacity for His glory.

*Last item to communicate: Please do not take away from the front-line greeters’ ministry by lingering in the doorway visiting with the greeters or others. Remember why we have greeters and go forth and greet others within the sanctuary.

May our God be loved in our endeavors to greet and love each other.

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by Cindy Waple


The Difference Between Attending and Belonging

Assimilation may be a big word, but it simply means successfully integrating people into a new environment. For Elim, “assimilation” means welcoming newcomers with the love of Christ and providing a process to become active members of our community — where they can know God, grow with others in Christ and go and serve South Hill and beyond.

As the Strategic Planning Team discerned our five strategic objectives for the next 1-5 years (communication, assimilation, spiritual transformation, community, and holistic outreach), we affirmed the importance of making every visitor feel welcome and having a process in place where newcomers can move from simply attending Elim to actually belonging as vital, functioning members of our community. This process includes not just greeting, but following up with visitors; introducing them to leadership at Elim and providing opportunities to learn about Elim’s vision and mission; assessing spiritual gifting and strengths; helping them join small group communities where they can continue to grow in Christ; and facilitating them serving in ministries that are in line with their gifting and calling.

For visitors who have not received Christ, we want to provide every opportunity for them not just to hear the Gospel and learn about Christ, but also to experience His love and grace through the body at Elim.

Much of what happens around assimilation is already taking place within Elim: visitors are greeted and engaged by the leaders and members as well as invited to small groups, Bible studies, Pulse, etc. However, the assimilation ministry will provide an intentional process to engage visitors and newcomers, ensuring that every visitor receives a proper welcome.

Mark and Barb McCullough have graciously agreed to lead this important ministry and are looking for those who would like to join them as this ministry forms. If you feel called to this ministry we invite you to contact Mark and Barb.

We are excited about the assimilation ministry that is forming! However, it is important to note that each of us has a role to play. We all have the responsibility of welcoming visitors when we see them on Sunday morning, and reaching out to them, perhaps even inviting them to your small group or Bible study. As we share Christ’s love with newcomers and welcome them into the community at Elim, not only will we see lives touched and transformed by God’s Spirit, but we also will be transformed.

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