She felt a nervous excitement signing up for the church women’s retreat. It wasn’t easy to do, but she reasoned that spending a weekend with other Christian women would allow her to meet friends and be welcomed into the life of her new church.

You’re Not Welcome Here

Her confidence was short-lived. On Friday night she walked alone to the auditorium as other women strolled with friends, their happy chatter a reminder that she was an outsider. Oh well, at least I’ll get a good seat, she thought, trying to stay positive in an uncomfortable situation. She walked toward the front and was shocked to see every seat taken, saved by the Bibles that women had placed there before dinner. She moved further back, only to find the same thing.

The only seat open was a corner one on the very last row.

Every Bible on every chair seemed to scream, “You aren’t welcome here. We already have friends, and you aren’t one of them.”

Of course, this was not the intent. Still, it was a memory she never forgot.

Through A Friend’s Eyes

When was the last time you had a friend attend your church for the first time?

One of the best ways to “see” your church culture is to bring a friend or neighbor with you. If it’s been a long time since you brought someone, start a pattern this week. Invite someones to come sit with you at your church.

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

17 Ways For Love To Be Seen

1. I see myself as a host at my church.

2. I see every new person as a I will treat people I don’t know, as I would treat a guest in my home. Especially children.

3. The most important person for a guest to talk to in order to feel at home in our church is me. It’s not the pastor, or the greeters. It’s me. One of the most impressive gestures I extend to guests is to take the initiative and welcome them.

4. Genuinely smile at everyone.

5. Look people in the eye and smile and offer my hand.

6. Take the initiative, don’t wait for guests to initiate conversation with me.

7. Ask people’s names, write them down, and tell them my name.

8. Ask questions and learn about my guests.

9. Listening is a very effective way for me to show love.

10. Greet children at their level. Crouch, or lean down. Hi-five or knuckle bump.

11. Let children be children. Guest families love it when they are allowed to decide if their children should remain with them in worship. And even more, when we love their kids as kids (crying, playing, singing) & don’t expect them to be grown-ups.

12. Invite guests to join me at something. Invite them to next Sunday’s service, or to a restaurant or to Tim Horton’s.

13. Never let guests sit alone. I will take initiative and go to them.

14. Help guests by being their tour guide.  I will never use my finger to point a direction. I will use my feet and take guests where they can find assistance and our resources.

15. Tell people I’m glad they are here.

16. Pray for them by name throughout the week.

17. Be myself. I have the capacity to love people. I will practice making people feel special.

APPLICATION: What was your most recent guest experience like? When was the last time you welcomed a guest to your church? Post in the comment section below. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 41 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring others through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, reading, and ball hockey. I'm a fan of the Esks, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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