What makes a church welcoming? Writing in the ADN, Chris Thompson offers some thoughts. I especially like this one:
I’ve recommended for years that multiple teams from a specific church need to visit other churches, every Sunday, to see how they are treated, and look for encouraging practices worthy of emulation. By and large, churches refuse to do this, plain and simple.
I do this every time I’m away from our congregation. (During a two week study-leave/vacation, I worshiped with three different congregations — taking lots of notes and a few pictures — in addition to the conference I attended.)
Thompson links to another article he wrote describing one of his visits. This is the sort of thing he’s talking about:
As I entered the doors someone said hi. Going up the steps to the sanctuary level, I was greeted by a man named Roy who offered his name first, a guest-friendly practice. I responded with my name. Spotting me as a guest, he invited me to sign the guest-book, indicating no one would call on me. I mentioned that was not my experience and preferred not to do so, whereupon he seamlessly shifted to offering to find me a seat even though the church was not full. …
Whenever you attend worship somewhere, let me know. I’d love to sit down with you and compare notes about your observations.