When done well, this practice is an expression of Christian hospitality, and also an important first step in church growth.
Welcoming is Formed
Here at Building Faith we believe that welcoming visitors is closely tied to formation. Here's the issue: a welcoming congregation does not just "happen." Churches that are truly effective in welcoming (and integrating) newcomers have been taught and formed in this practice.
A recent Building Faith poll showed that many churches do not identify visitors during services, although they do welcome visitors in other ways.
It depends on your context, but we encourage everyone to consider deliberate yet gentle ways of identifying visitors and newcomers at church. When done well, this practice is an expression of Christian hospitality, and also an important first step in church growth.
These serve two important purposes. First, they get important and relevant church information directly into the hands of newcomers. Second, they create a "low impact" way for visitors to be identified by members of the congregation.
Welcome packets are easy to make using plastic gift bags and church information which you may already have printed. The following video walks you through the basic idea. You can change your packets to suit your community.
Other Articles and Links for Welcoming
Three Keys for Welcoming Newcomers at Church by Tim Schenck
In this article, a parish priest describes the steps that his parish uses to invite visitors and then guide them toward membership.
Making a Good First Impression by Carolyn Moomaw Chilton
This article provides practical suggestions form making sure that your church is visitor friendly.
Purchase Olive Wood Crosses
This wonderful website, run by a family in Connecticut sells beautiful crosses which make perfect gifts to visitors. The website sells these crosses as a ministry, for no profit.
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