An Orthodontic Cookie!

I was asked yesterday by my son-in-law, Reece, to help get one of our grandsons to an after-school appointment at the orthodontist. We are out in New Mexico for a few days visiting family and friends.  Reece was already busy picking up his other son and needed to get home to complete his workday. I have forgotten how stressed busy young families are with their many commitments. Just the coming and going required to shuttle their students to school and extracurricular activities is demanding enough.  I love partnering opportunities like these. It’s more than lending practical support, but also gives me time for a sustained, one-on-one conversation with another beloved grandson that we only see a couple times out of the year!

Klay At Play! 😏

As we arrived for the adjustment to Klay’s braces and checked in, I was immediately impressed with the waiting area for this orthodontal practice. The receptionist was smiling and kind. The minimalist approach to the décor was modern with just the right number of furnishings. The white paint with clean lines communicated an inviting professional environment. It was as I looked along one of the walls that I saw something I had not seen in any medical office in my community. There were three Apple iPads on the wall above a counter with several padded stools where students could perch and explore a selection of game applications.  I joked with Klay, “Where are the magazines?” You can imagine that since some of us tend to get a little anxious when anticipating a dental appointment that this office was doing everything possible to mitigate that fear.

After waiting for about 15 minutes, the receptionist eventually engaged us and apologized for the wait. She promised that Klay would be taken back as soon as a chair was available. Shortly thereafter, he was invited back so that his  technician could clip a wire that was uncomfortably chafing the side of his mouth. In just a matter of 2 minutes the procedure was completed, and we headed out the door. The receptionist surprised us by offering both of us a packaged cookie from an assortment that lined a tray resting on top of the check-in desk. I’m still not sure how that office visit perk fits into the scheme of dental hygiene! While we declined the generous offer, I did think that the idea was quite novel indeed!

We have an excellent hospitality ministry at our church. Our Connection Director leads a team of greeters and helpers who enthusiastically work at communicating that we are a “welcoming church!” Sometimes we see a delicious assortment of cookies and at other times there are donuts that greet worshippers on selected Sunday mornings. A coffee and drink station are never far away. These intentional efforts offer a “tasty welcome” to members and guests that enter the doors into gathering areas on Sundays. We want to communicate to everyone who chooses to come our way for worship, Bible study and fellowship that we care about people and that our church is a safe and inviting place for them and their family and friends.

As I read the New Testament, I see church experiences characterized as a faith, feasting, and fellowship event. Paul admonished the Corinthian church for their less than inclusive practices, especially with the poor and needy who participated in what he described as a “Love Feast” along with the Lord’s Supper. The Apostle showed his displeasure by questioning the church, “Don’t you realize that you’re showing a superior attitude by humiliating those who have nothing? Are you trying to show contempt for God’s beloved church?” (1 Corinthian 11:22, TPT).

The Early Church was known for its inviting fellowship. Believers saw themselves as a unified body that “shared with one another whatever they had,” and “shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people.”  And the results were that “the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.” (Acts 2:44, 46-47).

There is something contagious about a growing church! As we welcome others into the household of faith, we are blessed to see God working! Let’s continue to share our witness, be inviting to others, and trust God with the results!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.




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