Stability #2. “Welcome to your new home.”

Stability #2. “Welcome to your new home.”

In my mid-twenties I took an extended holiday to a foreign city. I have since been heard to say about the congregation I attended, “That congregation treated me so well that I have no idea why I ever left.” These words will be ever true, and for their kindnesses I will ever be grateful, but I am reminded that I was but a resident tourist. I had no real intentions of putting down roots, and I knew I had work to get on with back home.

Over the years since, and twenty-seven of those preaching for the Morningside Church of Christ, I have watched many brethren come and go from their countries and towns; all with varying degrees of joy or frustration. I have also watched God at work in those brothers and sisters as they negotiated the changes that have often tested their faith.

Most changes are predictable. Church-life, work, family, and accommodation all come with their associated ups and downs. All of these bringing opportunities for the experienced among us to offer support along the way.

I have come to believe that we underestimate the impact that a change of congregations has upon the life of a Christian. Admittedly, some do take it in their stride, and others take a little while to settle in, but others struggle badly. Brethren leaving stable church environments can find themselves feeling very disorientated, even in the best of congregations.

Members who have transferred from other congregations must be welcomed as those bringing new life and vitality. We must indeed embrace them for what they are—Family! We must ever be aware that those who move long distances are especially susceptible to being overwhelmed by the strangeness of their new environment. Those of us who are well settled are to make them feel at home. After all, we are their spiritual home.

John Staiger


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