She felt a nervous excitement signing up for the women’s event. It wasn’t easy to do, but she reasoned that spending time with other Christian women would allow her to meet friends and find a welcome into the life of her new church.
Am I Welcome Here?
Her confidence was short-lived. It felt intimidating enough trying to meet people, but wearing a mask really amped up the discomfort. On the event night she walked alone to the auditorium as other women talked with friends, their muffled chatter from behind masks 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 available seat taken, saved by the Bibles that women had placed there upon their arrival. Physical distancing had already reduced seating capacity and made finding a seat very complex. She moved further back, only to discover the same thing.
The only seat open was a corner one on the very last row.
Every occupied 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? I know, COVID has made it almost impossible.
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 because of COVID, start a new pattern this week. Invite someone to come with you to church.
17 Ways For Love To Be Seen
1. I see myself as a host at my church.
2. I will treat people I don’t know, as I would treat a guest in my home.
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 with my eyes and my body posture at everyone.
5. Look people in the eye and smile behind my mask. Yes, your eyes can communicate a smile.
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 the most effective way for me to show love.
10. Greet children at their level. Crouch, or go to one knee.
11. Let children be children. Guest families love it when they are allowed to decide if their children should remain with them. And even more, when we love their kids as kids (crying, playing, singing) and don’t expect them to act like grown-ups.
12. Invite guests to join me at something. Invite them to next Sunday’s service, or to an online group.
13. Never let guests stand 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.
What was your most recent guest experience during COVID? When was the last time you welcomed a guest to your church? Post in the comment section below. Thank you.
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This is so true. People at church only talk to the people they know. It is not welcoming at all