Safety /ˈsāftē/ noun: the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
What comes to mind when you think of safety? For many of us we go straight to physical safety. We think about “slippery when wet” floors and roads, or the need to keep our kids safe from dangers.
But what does serving with safety in mind look like? This value has two implications here at New Life – physical safety and creating a safe place for people to Discover God. While the first one may seem rather obvious, the second is not always as clear cut.
Physical safety is of significant importance when we are serving. No one wants to get hurt while they are helping others. Being aware of your surroundings and looking for ways to mitigate situations where physical danger may be present is a good way to keep safe. This could be as simple as making sure kids are staying in their designated area or quickly blocking off a slippery spill and cleaning it up.
Safety has another role at New Life. We like to say that we create safe places for people to discover God daily. This can be a little bit trickier. People that are far from God want to feel safe before they open up to His Word and His Son. To help them feel safe we can focus on helping them feel welcome and being a friend to them long before we have a conversation with them about Jesus. Often in our zeal we can be quick to talk to someone about Jesus before first welcoming them with open arms. This can push people away from God as they have fear about opening themselves up to Him.
I remember my first day at New Life. After spending 30 years far from God I finally took my first intentional step to find out who He was. This was terrifying for me. I had tons of anxiety and was overly cautious of everything and everyone as I walked in the door of Westfield High School. I was quickly greeted by someone that simply said “Hello” and asked if they could help. They walked with me offering me coffee and cookies as they showed me how to make my way to the auditorium. Not once did they talk about Jesus or if I knew Him. They didn’t ask if I was baptized or considered myself a sinner in need of salvation. The key is they knew I would hear about Jesus from stage so they simply welcomed me and showed me the kindness of a good neighbor.
We all have the opportunity to create safe places wherever we serve. By just showing others the love that Jesus showed us on the cross, we can be a bright light in someone else’s darkness. We can be a person they can talk to and ask questions of. You can be someone’s friend and know their story before they ever know Jesus. Through this people will feel safe enough to let down their guard and hear the Good News. “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NLT).