The art of welcoming the first time guests who visit our churches is to practice the art of church hospitality.
Church Hospitality is not evangelism as we define and use it here.
Rather, church hospitality helps to shape the environment for hearing the joyful sharing of the good news of the sovereign love of God.
I’ve experienced churches that think they are warm and friendly, but the church visitor may only notice that the church is warm and friendly with themselves.
Church Visitor Banned to the Balcony
Once, I was the church visitor.
People kept staring at me with a look of disapproval.
I unknowingly committed the sin of wearing blue jeans to that particular church.
I had to sit in the balcony to avoid all the stares that the people in the church gave me.
I never returned.
Way to Reject Church Visitor #1: Judge them for the choice of clothing and stare them down.
Church Visitor Never spoken to
Over a good meal one night with an irreligious married couple, we spoke of church life, faith, Christ, and other topics.
They both attended church 3 times a week growing up, but once they married and relocated to another city, they quit going.
They hadn’t been to church regularly for nearly 40 years and faith is no longer important to them.
Their children weren’t church goers and grew up without any real knowledge of the grace of God. I asked, “Why did you stop going?”
“When we were newly married,” they replied, “we relocated hundreds of miles away from our home town, away from family, friends, and our support network. We visited a few churches of our brand and not one person said hello or took interest in us.”
Forty years ago a family dropped out of church.
A second generation misses out on the proclamation of the grace of God.
Way to Reject Church Visitor #2: Don’t speak to your first time Church Visitor.
Let me ask you this:
How do you react to visitors in your church?
Do you have an experience to share?