One of the things I love to do every time we are at the beach is eat seafood. Fried oysters and shrimp are my favorites, but I also can tear some scallops, flounder, crab, tilapia, mahi, and just about anything else.
We tend to eat the same seafood places every year, but this year we switched things up a bit and went to a place in Murrlles Inlet called Russell's. It is a small place that features a bar that is as big as the dining area. It's decorated with all kinds of local pictures and old fishing equipment. The food was good. It wasn't the best I've had, but I really enjoyed eating there and I want to go back.
The reason why I enjoyed it so much had more to do with the atmosphere than the food. When we walked in Russell greeted us at the door. He commented on how our girls looked, and how he was glad we came by. During the meal, he stopped at our table to ask if we needed anything and asked my ten year-old nephew Austin if he was paying for everyone. Then I saw him check with the couple at the next table, and when they asked him a question about the restaurant he sat down with them and told them the history of his life in the restaurant business in Murrlles Inlet.
All of that reminded me of how important it is that when people show up at Freedom each week they are genuinely greeted. Russell let each of us know that we were the reason he had opened up the restaurant that evening. The same is true at worship each Sunday. The new person who doesn't know Jesus or is looking for a place to connect is the reason we do what we do each week.
We have a team of amazing volunteers who do a great job of greeting new folks week after week. If you are already part of that team, thank you for all you do! If you are not a part of this team and you regularly attend Freedom, you can still do what Russell does at his establishment. Look for ways to make people feel at ease when they come in every week. Try it out this week.