Weekly Thought – October 15, 2019
Fred thoroughly enjoyed being a substitute teacher at the Elliott Class (Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas). His influence in that class continues even years after his death. He dedicated himself to preparation for these lessons. And time the class members commented on the way he stretched them.
Ministry of Ushering
The President of this class also serves as the Head Usher. In a recent time together I asked him, “What does it take to be a good usher?” “The first thing is you’ve got to love Jesus Christ with all your heart… so much so that it comes through in your enthusiasm and warmth.”
I have to admit, that wasn’t one of the first things I thought about. In fact, in my own upbringing I surmised there was a bidding system for the center aisle on Sunday mornings which usually went to people who sold insurance or cars and wanted to give themselves an honest name. I thought you had to have a dark suit, and a lapel wide enough for the carnation, too. In fact, I figured those who didn’t really want to be in the work of the church volunteered for church work. And I must confess, in my experience, it gave the advantage of stepping out for a smoke between passing the plate and sitting down. His quick response certainly brought me up short.
Then in typical Smith fashion I started thinking about the potential in the ministry of ushering. It is an exercise of the gift of hospitality. And there are others, as well, which relate to the functions of the church.
1) Many come to the church as if it were a hospital. They might be dressed in designer outfits and not hospital gowns, but they hurt just the same. Who is in a better position to recognize the hurting than the first contact?
2) Some come through the doors who are spiritual lost, without a relationship with God through Jesus. They have not had a new birth experience. Others are believers but are still lost, having wandered off from the Shepherd.
3) Most attending formal services want a reverent atmosphere. Even though I have friends who claim to worship more fully on the golf course or in a boat on the lake, many still find a sense of communing with God in a corporate environment… a “time and place” format for worship. The mode of physical gathering changes, but the idea of bringing honor and glory to God doesn’t. The idea of reverential awe still exists and the ushers are the very first ones to set the tone.
My friend’s comment about warmth and enthusiasm emanating from a love of Jesus Christ is truly the bedrock. The ushers are the very first handshake, greeting, and contact. They serve well as ministers of grace and hospitality.
This week think about: 1) How often do I consider the ministry of my church ushers? 2) What spurs me to notice those who need a friendly word? 3) Who sets an example in my church and how can I express appreciation?
Words of Wisdom: “Ushering is an exercise in the gift of hospitality.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality.” (Romans 12:13 NET Bible)