Our family experienced a temporary life transition that involved us moving to another state in the US for a period of four months.
We left our work, our church that we are planting, our friends and support networks.
During this temporary time, we chose a local church in the community we lived in.
We chose to not shop for a church.
This put us in a real life experience of being the first time visitor in a church.
And the second time visitor, and so on.
It also allowed us to experience the challenges of getting connected to a local church.
Too busy to make friends on Sunday
The small window of time between services and the start of Sunday school was too busy.
We had to
- navigate their large building to find our kids after the service,
- get some coffee in the fellowship hall, and
- press through the tight crowd that forms in the hallways between the services.
After three visits, we began to wonder, how do we go about making new friends?
Listen in on my church visit
I wrote about our experience for the January 2013 issue of Net Results Magazine. In this video, I’m interviewed by the editors, Bill Tenny-Brittian, and his wife Kris, for an episode of Church Talk.
After a few weeks, the “wow” factor of awesome church hospitality has faded.
The visitor’s question now becomes one of the following:
- Can I make new friends here?
- Can I make a difference in the world here?
- Can Jesus meet me?
- Can I give financially to support this church’s mission?
On the assumption that you have a church visitor or new family making the effort to come back for a few weeks, my experience raises the question:
How can a church guide a visitor to an easy and low commitment next step?
This is the central question of any visitor connection process.
We must be intentional in helping new comers find their way into our church family and make easy pathways for that to occur.
Programmatic expressions might differ, but the question remains the same:
In the comment field below, would you contribute your answer?
What is a simple and low commitment next step that a repeat church visitor can take to build new relationships?
I am a volunteer & church member in my church (Methodist). I am retired. I get cards from visitors who visit our church & send them a card thanking them for attending & ask them to please join us again.
My question is – WHAT TITLE should I use after signing my name? I have Googled everything and cannot find any responses – Help?? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!
This is an awesome question. I don’t think a title is necessary for this little thoughtful note. I think that hand written note is an awesome gesture in our smartphone and internet society. Nowadays, a thoughtful note standouts out.
Hello, we are a church full of Africans. We have done a lot to make our services welcoming to our white Australians. A few of them that have visited mentioned that they feel they are in the minority and are uncomfortable, although they also indicated that we are very welcoming. Interestingly we see many minority Africans in predominantly white churches. Can anyone help or we should accept the fact that whites don’t feel comfortable among blacks, no matter the assimilation efforts?
what a great question.
the question could be expanded beyond skin color and into economic status, nationality, ethnicity or even language. As I’ve worked in multi-cultural churches, immigrant churches, I see the wonderful koinonia that develops when these divisions are conquered. I’ve been part of churches that struggle with these things and part of churches where the struggle is not so obvious.
All you can be is welcoming, inviting, and blessing. How people react is not what you can control. what you can control is a welcoming atmosphere, a great sense of “welcome home” and a clear process to help your guests make new friends.