The Open Chair
From the beginnings of the Bible it was God's intent to include his creation, his people, into a fellowship with him. From the promise to Abraham that God would make him a great nation and that he would be a blessing to all peoples (Gen 12.2-3) to Jesus saying to his disciples, "Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matt 9.38) to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19), God has had an OPEN CHAIR for people. The open chair is the visual symbol of God's welcoming his people. It is a reminder that we were welcomed into his community and that there are others that have not yet been welcomed into his community. It is a reminder that he made us a part of his fellowship but that someone is missing.
The OPEN CHAIR is part of who we are at St Andrew. Our mission statement reads "The mission of St Andrew Lutheran Church is to Introduce people to Jesus Christ
Include them in his community of faith, and
To celebrate the joy of his love and grace.
This is the OPEN CHAIR. The vision for Life Groups at St Andrew has "St Andrew will become a church of Life Groups. Every member participates in the Life Group experience." This is the OPEN CHAIR. The group covenant says "We will be welcoming and receptive to visitors and new members, understanding it is God's goal that His Kingdom would grow and multiply." This is the OPEN CHAIR.
With this in mind, I ask you at your next meeting to set up one more chair, an empty chair in your meeting area. Explain to the members of the group what the empty chair means. (If you want to read this to them that's okay too.) Urge them to make a list of people they know who need the fellowship of Life Groups. Suggest they start with family and friends, people at work, people they know from the gym and lastly those from church. Then pray that that person has a willing heart and that the Holy Spirit brings an opportunity to talk to them about Life Groups. Then, be ready for the opportunity.
The OPEN CHAIR — it's who we are at Life Groups; it's who we are at St Andrew.