A friend of mine attended church with me on Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, we had talked and she mentioned that she was at a point in her life where she felt like she needed some guidance. I talked with her about the guidance I receive from Jesus and then the conversation went to the strength that comes from seeking him together with other people. That’s when she spoke the words that really hit hard, “It’s difficult to walk into a church when you don’t know anyone.”
That conversation made me realize something: I need to put myself in the shoes of people who are walking into a church for the first time. This action takes a lot of courage as it can be intimidating, scary and definitely uncomfortable. (I visit new churches on a regular basis and even though I am accustomed to walking into a new place, I have felt all of these emotions at times.)
I asked if she would be interested in coming to church with me some Sunday and she thought she might. I assured her that I’d invite her the next time I was going to be in town at our home church.
I was in town on Sunday and when I invited her, she said she would be there. My promise to her: I will meet you in the lobby and will be looking for you when you walk through the door. (I was and I will describe the rest of the day to you in my next post.)
Here are some questions that came to my mind after thinking about what my friend said: When a guest comes through the door, how are we going to greet them? Do we have a strategy for welcoming people (beyond a greeting at the front door)? What is our plan for helping new friends navigate the landscape of the building, service schedule and other intricacies of the church?
If we think ahead by processing these questions, we will not only be a church that helps people feel welcomed and loved. We will also be well on the way to helping people connect with Jesus and his family, the church.