Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful comments on Monday’s post. It definitely seems to be something everyone feels strongly about, and it was good to know Chris and I aren’t alone!
So there is something I am aiming to change in my vocabulary that I have noticed for the last few months. There are lots of time I have said something like, “I wish the church would do that better,” or “The church needs to…”
Here’s what I’m realizing, though: The church is actually me. And you. Yes, there are things the staff in church can do to make people feel welcome. But what about the rest of us? What can we, as individuals and as the church, do to revolutionize and recharge our churches? Because someone can try from the stage all they want, but a welcoming church only comes when the people in the crowd are committed to it.
I was brainstorming and jotted down just few things I want to start doing at church to make it more welcoming. The following is my very creative and unique Let’s Be Welcoming at Church list.
Make an Idiot of Yourself
Once a church gets larger than about a hundred people, there’s a chance you don’t know everyone. It could be easy to skip introducing yourself to a newcomer because you’re worried they aren’t actually new. Or because you won’t be able to answer their questions. Or because they are younger/older/single/married/divorced. But here’s my Big Insightful Advice: do it anyway and just see what happens.
Invite Them to Lunch
Food brings people together, and what better way to get to know your new friend? Even if they say no, or it’s a really awkward lunch, at least you showed you want to get to know them better, and that’s special. It’s just a few hours of your time—you’ll still have plenty of time to nap, promise :)
Introduce Them to Your Friends
See your life group leader walking down the aisle? Grab their hand and introduce them to your NCF (new church friend). I may be reading too much into this, but when you introduce someone to your friend, you are kind of saying they are worth knowing. Added bonus: you get a little break from carrying the conversation. #introvertsunite
Don’t Make Joining the Church a Friendship Qualification
If you and NCF hit it off, but they don’t join the church, you can probably still be friends! Unless the only thing you ever 100% of the time talk about is church. Then you might have a problem.
Okay, so these aren’t insightful or creative ideas, but how cool would it be to do one of these every single week? You could easily change the atmosphere of a church by injecting your friendly personality. My goal is to start welcoming (aka just talking to) someone new every single week, even now when we aren’t in a church home. Once we are settled in a church, I think it would be fun to make sure Sunday lunch is a ministry meal, where we are inviting new people to join us for a meal.
I’ll wrap up with a story: in college, I went to a church with Tori. If you know Tori, you know she is probably the coolest person ever. I remember every single week before church she would walk through each row and say hi to everyone, introducing herself to people she didn’t know and making everyone feel welcome. Let’s all be Tori’s, okay? Let’s change the church game for new people walking through our doors.