Have you noticed churches struggle to welcome? A friend of mine shared how he waited in the post-service fellowship area of a church. He counted twelve people who walked past him without eye contact or hello. I have found this experience too common. Regularly there is too little welcome from the entrance to exit. I do not mind as I am an extrovert. I do know most people mind. The challenge is this is not just because the welcome team missed a new person. This happens when a community does not have a culture of hospitality. This can be normal in the secular world. It should not be normal within a church community. An intentional first step is for every member to say hello to everyone they see, especially people new to them.
After a year of few visitors, aside from those online, we are starting to see more people new to us. This is wonderful! I trust they know we are glad they have come because of our genuine welcome. If they are looking for a church home, I hope they know we want them to belong because we include them. Hospitality takes work but has the wonderful rewards of new friends and a growing community.
(Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash)