|Have you ever felt alone in a crowd of people? Most of us have had that experience at some point in our lives. Maybe it was at a party where you didn’t know anyone. Maybe it was when you started a new job, moved into a new community, or even when you visited a new church.
When new people visit your church, however, they should not feel alone and they should definitely feel welcomed! In fact, through years of working with moving families, the EXODUS Network has found that the church can significantly influence how positive – or how negative – the relocation experience is. Of course, not everyone who visits a church is new to the community. No matter what their situation is, however, all visitors need to feel welcomed. Thre are some people who visit really want to slip in and out, they don't want to be "trapped" into a conversation about joining the church. Even people who give you those signals need to feel welcome to come back. Being "welcoming" is not the same as "hovering" over a visitor or newcomer. Being welcoming involves eye contact, smiles, asking if you can help people find something, good signage, a pleasant environment and people who are sensitive to the needs of others. |
Most church member want to be welcoming to others, but they often simply do not recognize the needs of new families. Others are uncomfortable approaching people they don’t know. Still others just aren’t aware of the specific actions and responses that will really make the difference for visiting families.
Despite all of these reasons, every church member is capable of being the “First Friend” of church newcomers. To help them learn specific ways to welcome visitors and newcomers, we are providing five “Be the First Friend” program inserts that your church can print, copy and distribute to your congregation.
Being the first friend is not difficult, but it is ever so important. Something as basic as a simple “hello” can encourage newcomers to become regular members, and eventually to be the first friend to someone else.
Be the First Friend Program Inserts