At The Threshold

2 Chronicles 8:14–16, Mark 13:32–37

Have you ever been to a fancy hotel or apartment building, and seen (or interacted with) the doorman? In a way, they act as a guard, granted a more passive one, yet their presence often acts as a mental barrier to entry.

In the times of the temple, the gate-keepers protected the offerings and the offering storerooms next to the entrances (the gates). By their presence, they also maintained a sense of order (crowd control).

As time progressed, the wealthy would have doorkeepers. They only let the “right” people into the house. The concept evolved to the doorman, which may be more familiar now.

There is also a different type of doorkeeper, and that was the herald who would announce the guests at noble functions during the middle ages (even up to today). This function permits even new nobility to gain some traction, as a little of the awkward greeting time is gone. Also, with the announcement is the titles that go along with names. Especially in the nobility, titles were often more important than names, as there were certain nobility one was not to approach without the proper invitation.

Jesus warns that the doorkeeper must remain awake. None of us can be perpetually awake, no matter how much caffeine. Eventually, our minds and bodies shut down. What if, however, the doorkeeper that guards is also the doorkeeper that welcomes. What if, the doorkeeper that welcomes, also announces.

Over that last few years, Generations Community Church has been working on that exact concept through the Welcome Team. Why are we talking about the Welcome Team? They are the doorkeepers. Their presence can be intimidating (despite the warm smiles, warm words, and, hopefully, warm hands) to a guest. That’s true for many people. What if we had the Greeters announce (loudly) the names (and titles) of our guests? That would (after the awkward yell) break some ice. We’d already know their names (granted, we’d have to be paying attention to those outside our little circles). It would be easier to greet them.

The reality is that gatekeepers, doorkeepers, doormen, and greeters are people at the transition. Where they stand is the transition from outside to inside.

1) How do you welcome people into your home?

2) A common practice today in our homes is to “come on in. The door’s open.” What are the positives of that? What are the negatives (minus security)?

3) At church, it may seem to be someone else’s responsibility to welcome people. If you’ve been a guest at someone’s house, how does it feel to only have 1 person greet/acknowledge you, while the others ignore you?