Last week, OPC Pastor Shane Lems gave us some great illustrations of how to think about welcoming visitors to our church (Part 1). Now, it’s time to take action. Shane gives 10 practical ways church members can welcome visitors. Maybe you could discuss these as a family, or an outreach committee could use them to evaluate how effective they are at different examples. Try not to just read these and move on to the next thing. Print it out for later, bookmark it, or put a copy inside your bible for Sundays. Here’s Shane:
Practical Ways of Welcoming
There are so many ways local churches can become more welcoming. And the details depend on the context. Even noticing visitors is a big step for some people! But whatever context we’re in, we can for sure show love and hospitality to everyone who walks through the doors, whether rich or poor, Asian or American, single or married, hurting or even homeless.
Here are a few practical ideas on being more welcoming – assuming we take the first step in noticing visitors:
1) Say hello to a visitor and kindly tell them you’re glad they are there.
2) Ask a visitor if they need anything (like a bulletin, hymnal, Bible, directions to the bathroom, etc.)
3) Make a goal to say hello to one or two different people each week (including fellow members!).
4) Sit in a different spot from time to time so before and after church you meet different people.
5) Look around to see if anyone is alone or not being talked to. Go talk to them!
6) Work at it! Try to remember names, faces, and information in case the visitor returns. You may even have to write it down or put it in your contact list to remember!
7) If you’re not sure if someone is a visitor, ask if you’ve met before (and kindly apologize if you forgot!).
8) Think about open-ended questions to ask when meeting a new person, including where they are from, what their background is, what some of their hobbies might be, etc.
9) Ask your pastor or an elder how you can help in welcoming visitors.
10) Pray that you and your church family would be more welcoming and loving.
These types of things will help you grow in welcoming others. They will also build the fellowship of the saints as you look to talk to other members you may not talk to very much!
Which ones do you already do? Which ones have you never thought of? Which one should you have on your mind this Sunday?