The Fellowship Hall: Wrapping up my little walk through the church building, we must visit the fellowship hall (if you are lucky enough to have one) or where ever you visit after the worship service. This is another opportunity for hospitality: visiting new comers, introducing yourself, and showing your children how to be friendly. I have sometimes (though not often enough) prayed ahead of time that God would lead me to the right people and use my visiting to be fruitful. I don’t know who I should talk to. It is tempting to stick with family or close friends (not that we have to avoid them!) and not exert myself to “work the room.” We have to think about what it must be like for the people who don’t know anyone, and we need to find them and welcome them. There may be regular members who need encouragement or just a friendly greeting. Remember, this is my life for yours. This time is to be given away for others.
Just as I mentioned earlier about the mothers’ room, this is not a good time for the soapbox, pushing or selling your methods or opinions or products on others. We fellowship around Christ. We should keep a high tone and try not to settle into small talk.
The Kitchen: The kitchen is for feeding people, serving people, and working shoulder to shoulder with other women in the congregation. You might be putting food together for a funeral. Feeding people is a means of extending comfort and strength and love. It might be a wedding, and the food is a part of the celebration. What ever the occasion, we don’t want to bring in “Martha” attitudes of fussing over how others are not serving (or not serving our way); and we don’t want to be a “Mary” either, letting the burden fall to others. Don’t let the same two church ladies be overworked. Join in! And just another comment here: don’t dump too much responsibility on your daughters by saddling them with childcare when they would rather be participating in the event. Be wise about how much you expect out of your older daughters.
The dumpster: Finally, let’s just fill the dumpster up with all the unwanted guests: bad attitudes, criticisms, competitions, envy, grumbling, complaining, anger, covetousness, lust, and the rest of those baddies.
Women have always carried a lot of weight in the church, not in leading and preaching, but in a helping role. Romans 16 lists some of the women who were doing some heavy lifting: Phoebe was a helper of many; Priscilla risked her neck for the church; Mary bestowed much labor. Women keep the place running on all cylinders. At the same time, women can stir up trouble as well. Trouble making should go in the dumpster. Paul says to “note those who cause division and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
What a blessing to have a church body. We should never take it for granted, but be good stewards of the great privilege of corporate worship.