Updated: May 23, 2019
by Tim Haworth
Most everyone knows what a welcome mat is. For those who don’t, it is normally a rectangular piece of material placed by the front door with the word “Welcome” printed on it. Simple enough.
But I’ve noticed that some find a welcome mat as an opportunity to express themselves. Here are a few of my favorite creative doormat sayings that I would be proud to place by my front door:
● Welcome. (Don’t expect much)
● Please stay on the mat. Your visit is very important to us. Your knock will be answered in the order in which it is received.
● The Neighbors Have Much Better Stuff
● HOLD THE DOOR!! (For my Game of Thrones friends)
● Doorbell Broken. Yell “Ding Dong!” Really Loud
● Ring Bell - Win a Dog
● Caution! Dog Can’t Hold His Licker
There’s one that is my all time favorite but I really have no idea what it means. It says, “Well Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit, Look Who’s Here!” I suspect it might make more sense to those who live south of the Mason-Dixon line. When I asked my Georgia friends about the meaning they just smile and one of them said, “Well strap my face to a hawg and drag me through the mud, silly yankee, I can’t believe you don’t know what that means.” At which point I throw my hands up in defeat and walk away.
Did you know that our church has a really nice welcome mat? No, you won’t find it by the big red doors saying “Welcome to the Narthex!” It’s on the homepage of our website (www.lincolnschurch.org). It says:
WELCOMING YOU HOME
This is God's house and all God's people are welcome.
We celebrate an open Communion table.
If you hunger and thirst for God, please join us on first Sundays and Wednesdays.
We celebrate gifts of the Spirit in all people, every one of us.
We believe that our unity in the body of Christ
is more important than our differences of opinion.
No matter your church background or lack of it, your identity or whom you love, how you vote, or where you work, God's doors are open to you.
You are welcome here!
I like it. To me it sounds very inviting.
But, to someone with little or no church experience our welcome might be as meaningful as...well...buttered biscuits and “hawgs”. They might well ask:
● Why do you refer to a church as “home” and “house”?
● Who are “God’s people” and who belong to some other deity?
● Who and how does God choose?
● Why do you celebrate a table? What makes it “open” or “closed”?
● What is communion? Isn’t that where you think you are eating flesh and drinking blood?
● What are “spiritual gifts”?
● What do “God’s doors” look like and who decides when to open or close them?
I could go on and on. These are some very real questions that need to be answered if we hope to grow. We can’t just smile like my Georgia friends and say, “Silly heathen. I can’t believe you don’t know what this stuff means.” We have to understand that some of the language we speak is very foreign and sometimes downright odd to more and more people who don’t share our experience of being a part of a church. And that population is rapidly expanding.
If we aren’t prepared to explain our terms, language, ceremonies and beliefs (without that air of superiority), then we end up building walls instead of opening doors. So I think a good place to start is with our “welcome mat”. Let’s do some blogging about what those different terms mean to us. I know that I’m not the only blogger in the church so I invite you to take a word or a part of our welcome mat and write about what it means to you. Ultimately I hope to link those thoughts and ideas to the key words so that visitors to our site can be linked in and gain a better understanding of what we are about as a church.
Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? Consider yourself invited and start writing. It can be long or short. Send what you come up with to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Who knows, maybe one day someone visiting our site will read your thoughts and say, “Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, that makes a lot of sense!”