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What does your welcome look like?

I was reminded by a friend’s Facebook post of an odd practice by some churches where they get newcomers to stand up, and the church welcomes them with applause. It got me thinking about the different ways we welcome newcomers – from welcome lounges to welcoming them by name, welcome packs to an invitation to the pastor’s house the following Sunday for lunch (and a guaranteed 2nd visit). Some of them can be pretty confrontational, particularly if the visitor isn’t certain whether they’ll return next week.
Yet, there is this sense of urgency in welcoming a new visitor to your church. We want to welcome them, the thought being that if they feel welcome then they will be more welcome to return again, and perhaps become a member. But if we come off too eager then we will scare them off with our welcoming. A tough line to tread.

This post has no answers, but I’d love to hear what your church does. At Devonport Salvation Army, we have a welcome pack which we offer visitors, which includes a book, some information about our programs, and some chocolates. I don’t know how well this works yet, but it’s what we have. I’d love to hear how your church welcomes new people, and as a challenge, why don’t you go to another church and see how they welcome you!

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Welcome at church?

Today, we had an “Observation Sunday” which is where we go to a different church, to observe worship there. This is a great idea, as we get ideas on how other people structure their services, buildings, morning tea, etc. But as with all things, you can often learn what not to do. Today’s experience had us asking all sorts of questions, because it could have been so good. But, if we were looking for a church to attend, we wouldn’t go back to the one we went to today. In fact, had we not been going to observe, we probably would not have gone in at all. Continue reading Welcome at church?