Posted by: larry | October 30, 2008

Strangers in our midst

When you are not a Christian, or have been derelict for years in your service to God, it is very difficult to muster the courage on Sunday morning to walk into the church building knowing absolutely no one.  This awkward feeling is greatly eased if the church immediately makes it apparent that you are more than welcome with all the appropriate hand-shakes, smiles, and kind words.

Visitors may be seeking a place to worship and are just checking out the atmosphere; others may be seeking God right now, and need immediate help.  Friendliness will work miracles in determining their comfort level, and ultimately their decision whether to become your brother/sister in Christ.

Some visitors finding themselves in such alien confines quickly scan the quickest exit routes just in case an overwhelming urge to bolt for fresh air overtakes them.  The proper initial welcome should keep them in their seats, that is unless they have the innocent audacity to sit in the exact time-worn spot in the pew as ol’ brother Jones has for forty-years, and then being asked to move…not good!

Visitors who never return just may be visitors who were never welcomed!

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Responses

  1. Visitors who never return just may be visitors who were never welcomed!

    Do you think?

  2. You know Larry, I can’t help but think there might be something wrong, when you enter a church and see only pale faced, and mostly fair haired people.

    what do you think, do you think that might be an issue of being welcome as well.?

  3. laymond…
    Perhaps being “pale faced, and mostly fair headed” is not as common today as it was 30-50 years ago.

    Where I grew up we had the Church of Christ in two separate groups, the black church, and the white church; they didn’t know us and we didn’t know them…sad commentary by any standard.

    We have had visitors of African and Mexican descent, and they were welcomed extremely well, but they never returned, probably because they didn’t feel like they fit in…

    I understand why there are different churches for different racial groups, but I don’t understand why we can’t recognize each other as brothers and sisters and work together.

  4. I agree whole heartedly for the need to welcome guest.
    I will tell you, however, that what really gets me is when I’ve been attending the same church for years and the greeters treat me as if I am brand new.
    I don’t want to be treated as a guest after I’ve been there for three years. But, it is the same greeter, shaking hands and smiling with out even knowing my name. And, honestly, they don’t want to take the time. They have a job to do. Shake hands and smile. “Nice to see you”…next.

  5. Jim
    Thanks for for your input.

    We certainly agree about the greeter thing! I never have cared for the appointing of people to be in charge of welcoming the members and guests.

    Another thing that has always bugged me is the selecting of a group to visit sick members in the homes and hospitals; if I’m sick I would appreciate a visit, but not if it’s their appointed duty.

    Enough ranting for a while… :)

  6. Hi, Larry.

    Jim sent me your way. I am always looking for links.

    http://thekingpin68.blogspot.com/

    http://satireandtheology.blogspot.com/

    Russ:)

  7. Your desire is reasonable. I have also considered this. In fact, I can even complain about holding hands in prayer.
    The holding hands in prayer (large groups) is supposed to represent unity. The problem is, sometimes, I know that there are people present who are living outside of God’s will. So, there is no unity in the prayer. I would rather not go through the sometimes discomfort for praying in groups if the ‘ritual’ is not honest, anyway.

  8. Hi, Larry,

    Hope you will welcome this visitor with a smile. I say greetings from one stumbling child of God to another and also from one larry to another. Jim Leasure has directed me to your Blog and I am going to link you on mine as a follower. I have just recently experienced (one year ago this month) mustering that courage to step into a new church. I was greeted with much warmth and immediately felt apart of the crowd. It is a diverse congregation of all stripes and colors, but all hearing the Word.

    The bit about Noah was great and all too true. I wish I had wrote it.

    Jim and I have a little growing network and I ask you to visit my Night Writing in the Morning Light Blog at http://www.nitewrit.net and consider giving me a link on your pages if you like it.

    Got to head out the door to Sunday school right now. I’ll check out more of your thoughts later.

    Larry

  9. Jim
    Once more we agree :)

    I’m not into hand-holding prayers, not that there is anything wrong with the idea, it just presents a rather awkward feeling for a visitor; it would bother me at least to grab a strange hand in this situation.

    The unity of prayer, I believe, is handled by God. He is able to create unity when it might look impossible to us.

    Appreciate your comments.

  10. Nitewrit

    Thanks for dropping in with the comments.

    While your experience in a new congregation sounds just like it should be, mine was far from what one should expect when visiting a new congregation; thus my recent post.

    Having just moved to my current home three years ago I immediately met with the church, but received little friendliness; in fact I made friends quicker at the local coffee shop, which is ridiculous. Things are fine now, but it took way to long to be accepted.

    Perhaps you should check out my thoughts more before you link to me, I don’t even agree with myself at times. :)

  11. Russ

    Jim is certainly busy sending people my direction, and I appreciate his efforts.

    It’s good to have new blood injected into our conversations, and whether we agree, or disagree at times, we can do so in a Christian manner.

    Thanks for coming by, I’ll check out your site.

  12. Hi Larry,
    I was just checking in to see the faithful I said would be your way. Don’t worry about agreeing. Like you said, ‘we can do so without arguing’ or something like that.
    Jim

  13. Jim

    Appreciate your help in sending the “faithful” this direction. I am checking the various links you provide on your site and enjoying their posts.

  14. Hi Larry,
    Here is a brand new link in our network. As far as I know, noone else in our network knows about her yet. But, I am passing the word.
    First, let me assure you. I will not link you with anyone that writes hostile junk or flawed theology. Within reason, we may view differences in opinion. But, I have read this persons blogs for more than just a few.
    Here is her blog. Her name is Jody of Jody Lynn .
    You may pay her a visit and invite her to exchange in hosting a link. She is expecting people I send.
    Thanks,
    Let’s get this network up and running!
    Jim

  15. Larry,
    I would like to ask you to visit Novelist, Patricia Hickman. click here.
    I’ve been campaigning to have more readers and bloggers in our network.
    Stop bye and invite her to exchange hosting a link.
    Thanks,
    Jim

  16. Hey Larry,

    Jim sent me your way. I like what you have to say about welcoming people in the church. I am originally from Southern In, Southern hospitality is what i enjoy. Greeting at the church door was me and my husbands favorite thing to do, and the visitors sooo appreciated it!

    Blessings to you :) Tamela

  17. Tamela

    Having the talent to make others feel welcome, whether in the home or church, is a great blessing.

    Thanks for stopping by. I have visited your site, and will continue to follow your posts.

  18. Vote like the future of your country depends on it!!
    IT DOES.


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