A note from Pastor Zach Boutan
Recently, we started the Welcome Team ministry, and after looking at the Scriptures, I noticed that Jesus has a very interesting approach to a welcome ministry. To set the stage, just before Jesus went to Golgotha to die on the cross, he prayed a prayer for his disciples:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20-23).
It is very important to note that Jesus is praying to God the Father. Here are two members of our Triune God. The distinction between God the Father and Jesus is something that even theologians cannot agree on. On the one hand, they are distinct, but on the other they are both equally God and one in the same. The distinction between the two is impossible to discern. Jesus, praying to God the Father, prays that his disciples would be one, just as himself and God the Father are one. He prays that those who follow him would be “one even as we are one” (17:22).
And the best part? Jesus did not merely pray for this unity for the eleven disciples only, but for me and you as well, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one” (17:20). Jesus prayed that we will be as one as himself and God the Father. Let that sink in for a moment. Have you experienced this kind of unity with other believers before?
Many are quick to refer to other believers as their “brothers and sisters in Christ.” However, I think this term has been overused and has begun to lose its meaning. As children of God, other believers are our true family. Jesus said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matt 19:29). Although we may have family members that we are joined to by blood, we now have family that we are joined to by the blood of Christ. In a day and age where it’s commonplace to have closer relationships with people that we meet at work or at the gym than the people we are joined to by Christ’s blood, I wonder if we have lost sight of the unity that believers are meant to have with one another. Jesus describes a kind of supernatural unity that acts as a spectacle of God’s glory, a unity so otherworldly that the world cannot help but “believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Are our relationships with other believers a spectacle of God’s glory and goodness?
As many of you know, we have begun a new way to serve at the church called the “Welcome Team.” The purpose of the welcome team is that through our words and actions, to let anyone we meet realize that they are finally where they belong, in the Body of Christ. I pray that the welcome team will create an environment and a culture that fosters the kind of unity that Jesus prayed to God the Father that we would experience: a type of oneness that is shared by Jesus and God the Father only, a unity that is a spectacle of our Savior that the world cannot ignore. Regardless if you end up serving with the welcome team or not, Jesus’ prayer should resound loudly in the ears of all believers and should serve as an encouraging call to action to pursue this kind of unity with one another.
If the Lord is directing you to serve with the welcome team, you can contact me at 720-355- 3043 for more information.