“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s true-there are very few exceptions to that statement.
This past Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege of speaking to the volunteers of our First Impressions ministry at New Song Church. It was a joy to encourage them and affirm the tremendous work they are doing. After all, the thing that I hear over and over from people who visit our church is, “The people at your church are so friendly and so real.” What a testimony to those who naturally create such an authentic environment on Sunday mornings-they really do set the tone for the worship experience. Without a doubt, their ministry is paramount to the mission of New Song Church, “Helping people connect to God.”
During my time with this amazing group of people, I shared the story about my first church experience as an adult. I was 22, living an ungodly lifestyle, and had very strong opinions about “church people.” However, that all changed when one of my friends invited me to attend a church service at First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana. As skeptical as I was about “Christians,” the loving people of First Baptist Church reached out to me, made me feel welcomed, and accepted me exactly the way I was.
My first impression of God came from my first impression of God’s people.
My experience at FBC Covington led me to a relationship with Jesus and eventually into full-time ministry. And much in the same way, years later, my first impression of New Song Church was the exact same that I’d experienced at FBC Covington-loving and accepting. The result? God has used both of these churches to help me grow in my walk with Him. And I, in turn, have helped others to do the exact same thing, proving that first impressions are paramount in helping people connect to God.
A person’s first impression of you and/or your church has the propensity to either propel them toward God, or away from God-to say that much is at stake is a gross understatement.
What kind of first impression are you making upon the people you come in contact with at church, work, school, or in the community where you live? Do you leave an impression of love and acceptance, or do you come across as exclusive, and possibly even intolerant of those who are outside of the Christian faith? As a Christ-Follower, the impression that others have of you will also be the impression that they have of God.
So, again, I’ll ask, “What kind of impression are you leaving upon others?”
Think about it.
Great thoughts Danny! This reminds me of a phrase I love: “We are to be Jesus with skin on”.
That’s a great phrase! Great thoughts!
AWESOME! We still tell people (actually, just told the story again this past weekend at Andy’s football game) the story of our second trip to New Song and you rode your Harley down the aisle and went on to tell your first church experience! We’ve never looked back since!!
Since our time at New Song we are very aware of how we “let the light shine” for those we meet. For our first year here in the Baltimore area I managed a small, one-person bank in a retirement community and along with the residents, a number of my customers were the workers. I got close to residents and workers in no time. There was one lady who mentioned that she was not sure if she believed and she was not “into” being preached to. I smiled understandingly and told her that I was a Christian with very strong Faith, but did not believe that it was my place to “preach”. I told her that I felt my place was to “show” her how awesome it was to be a Christian and allow her to make her decisions in her time.
It didn’t happen while I was still working there, but I am thrilled to announce that she has since accepted Jesus into her life and is currently very active in her church.
AND that started with YOU, your Harley, your Lava Lamp and you spreading your light through your stories so that we can let the rays spread!!!!!!
How great to hear from you! Thank you so much for sharing those words of affirmation and encouragement! Your family means so much to me-we miss you greatly!
It seems like yesterday when I rode the Harley Davidson down the aisle at New Song and told my story. I can’t believe that it’s been 6 years! That was an awesome weekend of worship at New Song that God used to eventually affirm my calling as Lead Pastor. How cool to hear about God using it with your family, too.
And how exciting about your friend who received Christ, and how awesome that God placed you in her path to share your story, and help her connect to His story! AMAZING!
Tell your family I said, “Hey!”