OK so you believe your church is friendly. Let’s inspect that a little closer.
Why People Want to Go to Church
One of the most popular reasons that people attend church is that they want to make meaningful friends. No matter the age, friendship is important to everyone. We are finding that out particularly during this COVID – 19 crisis. School kids hunger for their peers whom they haven’t seen in such a long time. Elderly in retirement homes feel as if they have become prisoners without their companions beside them at mealtime to gossip or complain to.
Too Common Thinking
Many pastors and attenders believe wholeheartedly that their church is friendly. Is this really true for the newcomer experiencing church for their first time? They see regular churchgoers animatedly talking with each other for this is where they belong. But are the new faces approached themselves or are they just left standing along a wall without anyone connecting with them? I’m sure you know how that feels; it is not pleasant. You want to return to the safe haven of your home as soon as possible, never to set foot inside this “club” again.
Practical Suggestions for Improvement
If you really want to become known as a friendly church, here are some suggestions to take to heart. Arrive on time 15 minutes before the service begins to scout out any newcomers. Stay behind another 15 minutes to see if you can bend the ear of someone new you encounter. Become a proactive person and link two people of similar age to see if they can make a connection of interest. If you find your confidence low in speaking with someone you don’t know before you leave home practice what you might say to that person. Don’t just talk about the weather but mention something curious that has just happened on the news or give some tidbit of history about the church. If you are still stuck, offer to give them a tour of the church. You probably can think of several more suggestions but at least try these to begin with. You will be surprised how your confidence builds up over time and God will bless you abundantly for your effort. John 13:34-35 commands us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” That love includes newcomers!