“Wow, I think I just failed miserably at being welcoming.”
I’m embarrassed to say that was me talking about myself a few weeks ago while visiting the Tapestry Sunday School class. As the brand new Director of Welcoming Ministries, I was there to talk about how we as a church can put this new ministry into motion.
As the group discussed various ministries and service opportunities already at our church, I realized that the one visitor in the class was noticeably quiet. In that instant, it occurred to me that while the subject of our conversation was being welcoming and inclusive, we were forgetting to engage her in our conversation!
After our quick reversal of this oversight, she excitedly and earnestly joined the conversation, eager to share some of the things she had noticed and experienced in other churches. This led to a delightful and insightful discussion about how when we come to church, sometimes our excitement at seeing friends we only see on Sundays can make our visitors feel even more like outsiders, even though that certainly isn’t our intent!
We realized in that conversation that it really is the “small stuff” — things we don’t usually even think about — that can make someone feel truly welcome (or not). Just an extra effort to make sure those who visit our church on Sundays are included in our conversations can go a long way in making them feel welcome. Remember that when our visitors join us for worship, they may also be hoping to find a sense of community — with us!
Each Sunday brings people to our midst who are here for the first time. We have a wonderful team of greeters at our hospitality carts, as well as in our parking lots, our Welcome Center is always staffed with friendly faces to greet these folks and help them find where they need to go, and our fabulous team of ushers makes certain everyone feels comfortable entering our worship services. However, this new Welcoming Ministry belongs to all of us. Beyond our “front line” greeters, we each have a weekly opportunity to serve this new ministry just by including our visitors in our Sunday morning conversations. I look forward to serving with you!