Yesterday I played my tuba.
We were practicing the music for the National Day of Prayer and I noticed how the three mature musicians encouraged and made allowances for the fourth member of our group who did not have as much experience.
It reminded me of church on Sunday.
We welcome everyone to join us at First Baptist. We want them to feel like they Belong.
Some churches say you have to Behave or Believe before you can Belong. And at some points we do too: to be baptized, to join us in the Lord's Supper, to lead a small group, etc. you must have professed faith in Jesus and be living a lifestyle of repentance of growth.
But we have chosen to do our best to welcome everyone into the family and I saw that displayed on Sunday.
Sometimes there will be people who need extra directions or a bigger dose of patience. They're welcome.
Sometimes there will be individuals whose baggage is more visible than others. They belong here.
Sometimes there will be people who are unrepentantly divisive or distracting. We will ask them to leave.
I bet you weren't expecting that last sentence, were you? Titus 3:10-11 is a guideline we don't refer to often, but it is there and for two chapters Paul has been instructing church shepherds on how to lead their people.
So while it is every Christian's role to guard the unity of the body in their hearts and conversations, there is a special role for leaders to be responsible before God for protecting the flock.
Join us in helping people Belong here by welcoming people with God's hospitality. If they're "playing out of tune" we'll help them grow, but if they're "setting the instruments on fire" we'll help them go.
Now, on a lighter (fluid) note: Enjoy.