Good afternoon to everyone. I am still catching up from attending and participating in the Western PA United Methodist Annual Conference. It was a whirlwind 4 days for me. Not only was I a voting equalization delegate, I had the opportunity to serve on the worship and tech teams. I was privileged to help decorate the chancel to help set the environment for the worship experience. Further I was asked to run a camera for the 3 days of events to support the in-house video and the livestream of the event.
Throughout the event, I worked to help to welcome the attendees, vendors, and the online audience to make them feel at home. Most of the time these were little things, but I hope I made a difference in their experience. Shortly, this afternoon, I will be at my church helping to install new directional banners that will serve to welcome and provide information for visitors to the church. It is so vitally important to make sure we are welcoming to our church. For some, the church is a formidable location that may unintentionally instill some fear for visitors and guests. I challenge you, the next time you walk up to your church entrance, stop, and pay attention to everything that your visitors will experience. Enter through the same doors as the congregation, stop, look around, what do you see?
When I was a District Manager for RadioShack, I would visit stores every day. First, I would look at the exterior, is the signage in good order, condition of the parking lot, the sidewalk swept, the flower beds weeded? Then I would enter the door and then stop at the entrance mat for a couple of minutes. I would notice cleanliness, neatness (or the lack of it!), odor, lighting (any bulbs burn out), general atmosphere of the people in the store (are they calm and peaceful, or is there a lot of commotion and stress?) If you slow down and pay attention you can sense the feeling of the place. One tip, I can pass along. I took pictures of everything that the public could see, then sat down and looked at the pictures. It is amazing, but I would see things in the photos that I did not see in person! Our churches should FEEL welcoming, not just having a banner saying we are welcoming! Now that COVID restrictions are getting behind us, does your church have coffee waiting for the guests? Does your welcoming center smell welcoming? We have the responsibility of making our environment as welcoming as possible. If you see something out of place, either fix it right then and there, or report it to the person responsible or committee in a loving manner!!!
Warmly welcome newcomers and visitors. Offer your name with a smile. Reach out and greet the person you don’t know after worship, during Coffee Hour, in Youth Group or Sunday school. Show a genuine interest in others. What can you do proactively before the guests arrive to make them feel welcome?
“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15: 7)
“Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.” (Romans 16: 2)
Ideas for Action: Look for someone you don’t know very well. Invite that person for coffee, a walk or a meal and get to know them.
Keep your eyes peeled for the guest or visitor at our church and offer your name and a smile of welcome. Pave the way for new friendships wherever you are.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/sk4MYaFoWL8
Seen by 2