A Place for Everyone

a place for everyone

Sometimes the smallest temporary gesture can make the biggest eternal impact. This year, let's embrace opportunities to give up 'our seat' and extend compassion and care to those around us.

I grew up in a family that attended church every week, regardless of whether a holiday fell on the weekend. We would arrive early to mingle in the hallways, grab hot coffee and fresh donuts on the way in. I distinctly remember shaking hands with friends and church members who felt like family until we made it to “our seat.” In those days, our church had long wooden pews covered in dark blue fabric to match the carpet. Every Sunday, my grandfather would walk into the sanctuary, place his Bible in “our seat,” and quickly find a place to serve or welcome a new face. It was understood by everyone at our church that the six of us would sit in that exact pew each Sunday. It was “our seat.” Humans are creatures of habit, and when given a choice, we often stick to what is known and familiar. For our family, it was a place of comfort because we knew we would have a place to sit and belong.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. I serve every week in the musical portion of our worship services. This often means that while the pastor gives his opening illustration and concludes his sermon, the worship team is backstage, unplugging instruments and moving equipment. This behind-the-scenes work creates the best atmosphere and environment for the congregation. Every week, my wife sits in the same seat with an extra chair on the end for me to easily slip in during the early moments of the sermon and slip out to close the service.

After the opening worship set concluded, I rounded the corner to the main double doors and saw a couple with a child looking for seats. It seemed like there were no two seats together. I tapped the mother on her shoulder and mouthed, “Come with me,” and they followed. My wife and I gave up “our seats” so that someone else could sit comfortably and enjoy the Christmas Eve Sunday morning service. The couple’s faces lit up, and they settled into “our seats” while we found a new place to sit with a welcoming family who squeezed in to make room for us.

Following Jesus often involves giving up “your seat.” Jesus calls us to be uncomfortable (Matthew 16:24), sacrificial (1 John 3:16), and to put others’ needs before our own (Philippians 2:3-5). Our flesh might say, “You should arrive earlier” or “Try again next week,” but the love and grace of God enable us to extend compassion and care to everyone we encounter. As we begin the new year, I am challenging myself to seek opportunities to “give up my seat.” These opportunities might come on Sundays, at the grocery store, or at the gas station. With all that we’ve seen God do in and through our church, I pray that we continue to have a mindset that puts loving Jesus and loving people at the center of everything we do. Sometimes the smallest temporary gesture can make the biggest eternal impact.

JD Broussard

John David is the Director of Communications and leads our Contemporary Worship services. He came to know Christ at a young age and has served in ministry for over a decade. He enjoys the outdoors with his wife Jenny and using his creative talents to connect people with God.