Cover 2019-10-20

Ron Writes

Welcome Guests

Visiting brethren in other cities is one of the joys of vacation. We got to visit a couple of churches. It’s good to remember what it’s like to be a visitor. They made us feel welcomed and important.

Like most first time visitors, we checked out their webpages before we visited. One of the churches had a “guest ministry.” The webpage said their mission was “to make members and guests feel welcome; guide guests to appropriate rooms, coffee, welcome table, classes, etc.” It stated that “the purpose of the Guest Ministry is to be the most welcoming and loving church on the planet.”

So how did they do? At first I was taken back when their “guest parking” spots were the furthest from the door, until Lynn noted, yes but they’re the only ones in the shade – which is important when you’re parking in a hot desert place. They must have read the statistic that said most people determine whether they will ever return within the first 10 minutes. Some will make that decision before they even reach the auditorium. As soon as we walked through the door we noticed a “welcome” table. There were two ladies there to greet us, offer us coffee and donuts, give us a gift bag that was filled with goodies and in general to let us know they were glad we were there. A third lady offered to show us where our class was meeting.

As soon as class was over, we were greeted by everyone around us and made to feel special. One thing I did notice however, in both churches we visited. When they asked where we were from and we told them “Oregon,” they seemed a bit disappointed. Of course, most are hoping for visitors who will eventually become members. One lady had a great response though. She suggested as a visitor to the area to be sure and visit a specific attraction and told us all about it. It was a great suggestion. It made me feel that we were important for more than just being a potential new member.

It was good to know that they were ready. We went to those churches because we were Christians looking for folks who wanted to worship. Others will be walking through those doors with a spiritual hunger looking for God. Guests often are the first step in fulfilling the great commission – these are people coming to you. Without guests a church can’t grow. I remember a children’s song I used to like that said, “Go to the byways tell 'em on the highways. Tell them that you're their friend. And tell 'em the church is open. They're welcome to drop in. Talk just a little bit, sing just a little bit. Throw in a smile or two. But heavy on the howdy doo. For the Lord is counting on you.