You Are Welcome Here. (Lisa)
I thank my Daddy, because he knows what we need and as we delight ourselves in Him, He said that he would give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
Three years ago, I was desperate to be apart of a ministry that was like an extended family. With people who knew one another by fellowship outside of four walls. That is where the fellowship happens anyway. I came to Church in the City (CITC) broken and hurt by so called “Christians” and life; I was tired of religion and man’s traditions that took the place of Jesus. My heart and my spirit wanted so much more.
I longed for a place that did not pretend outwardly to be for Christ but in reality, was full of rigid religious practices and traditions of men and no love for one another.
I took a month, no Sunday services as usual, and I spent time with my Dad and asked Him to lead me to a ministry whose heart was for Christ alone. After all, this is His desire for His church. I happened to be on Youtube one day and randomly typed in the search bar “Chicago churches under grace.” Sounds crazy, I know, but lo and behold, Church in the City popped up. I had previously Googled the same thing and got results for other ministries. I had narrowed it down to two ministries: CITC and another ministry ( I will call church #2). I had decided to go to the other ministry one Sunday, and CITC the following Sunday. I put the directions to the two ministries on my table and went about my day. Every time I passed that table with the directions on it, I would look at the paper with CITC info on it. I remember saying to myself, ” I’ll go to Church #2 first, then Church in the City second”. I felt the Lord say, “Go to Church in the City”. I didn’t know why, but I said okay, I will go to CITC first, then Church #2 second. I wasn’t picking up what the Lord was putting down. I am grateful that He is gracious!
Sunday came around and I made my way to CITC. Hue was the first to welcome me (and he is still checking on me three years later), and it was real and genuine. I was stunned by such pure concern for me, a stranger- the “new kid”- that I went home and cried that first day ( don’t judge me). I really did not know that a ministry like CITC existed. It is very rare unfortunately. There were so many people that welcomed me that day and it was a genuine welcome. It was overwhelming, in a good way.
When I was asked to be a “Welcomer” on Sunday mornings, I jumped at the opportunity. I absolutely LOVE welcoming. I want the “new kids” to feel like I felt when I first stepped foot inside. There are people that come there with the same issues that I had when I came: in need of healing and a family who really cares. I love hugging them and getting to know them not just because that is how God made me, but because that is how I was treated. I would love to be a carrier of family! So come on, you broken and hurt, and those of you who are longing for a ministry whose heart for Christ and the people of this city. My arms are WIDE OPEN for a HUG!!! And you are welcome here.