I am very excited to share about our new welcome center and has been designed in a central location of the church to welcome everyone to their next step, but especially if you are new to Kelloggsville Church. I am working on a plan to raise up and train greeters, who are able to answer new people’s questions and guide them to their next step.
Part of the process is encouraging them to share their contact information, by logging into our online Hub, where all the signup options are clear and available for them to take their next step in discipleship.
Nelson Searcy, in his book Fusion, asks this focusing question: “The Spirit of God prompts people to visit your church – are we doing all that we can to honor and accept God’s blessing? I found myself praying, ‘God, you entrusted us with guests, I am sorry for how little we’ve done to prepare for their coming, or to follow up with them after their visit.’ The church is a family expecting guests – is your family ready?” (Fusion. Pg. 19.)
We have been in a season of getting ready and this welcome center will not only be open after the service, but our hope is to have fresh coffee and bagels available for guest when they arrive. Nothing sets guest at ease better than knowing we are prepared for them to join us.
Our Welcome Center is set up as a coffee shop with small chairs and tables, and signage that is specific to helping a new person know what to do next.
In the article “Top 10 Things that Turn Away Guests”, Thomas Rainer writes, “If your church does not have a clear and obvious place to get information, you probably have lowered the chances of a return visit by half. There should also be someone to greet and assist guests at that information center as well.”
We are celebrating the opportunity we have had to prepare to welcome guests, and the intentionality that is going into raising our chances for a return visit, that moves into relationships with other members, and eventually leads towards involvement in our community by serving and taking responsibility for loving others. This Next step area is all about preparing for three R’s.
Searcy writes, “Your newcomers don’t know what they don’t know, and they’re looking for guidance – whether they realize it or not. All newcomers are looking for three R’s: Return, Relationships, and Responsibility.”
Here is a story that highlights the importance of a friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, or strangers.
“Jon and his family drive into the parking lot of the church and are immediately impressed by what they see. The building, though not large or even new, is obviously well cared for, right down to the lawn.
Everyone is entering through the main front door, where a nice-looking couple about Jon and Liz’s age is speaking warmly to each person and handing him or her some kind of program. [you might call it a bulletin, but since Jon and Liz are unchurched, they are more likely to think of it as a program.]
Once through the front door themselves, they are welcomed with a smile and a “glad you are here.” Liz immediately spots two signs telling her exactly what she needs to know: one point the way to the restroom and that her four-year old urgently needs, and the other points toward the childcare area. After stop number one, Jon, Liz, and the kids check the childcare sign again and start in the direction it’s pointing. A volunteer spots them and offers to lead them directly to the right place for each of their children.
When the kids have been dropped off, Jon notices the smell of coffee and donuts wafting toward him. He turns to discover a table piled with Krispy Kreme boxes, fruit, and coffee. He and Liz exchange pleasantly surprised glances, and they each grab a donut [well, she grabs an apple and he grabs a donut] and a cup of coffee and start timidly toward one the aisles.
Immediately, another volunteer steps up and directs them to two open seats. Jon begins to realize the that foul mood he drove into the parking lot with has been brightened a little by the smiles around him, the warm coffee in his hand, and the overall atmosphere of the church. The people seem friendly and actually happy that he and Liz are there.
At the church they used to go to, people hardly offered a smile, much less helpful information or Krispy Kremes – and he’s always thought all churches were the same. As the service begins, Jon spots his friend just sitting down a few rows away. He cannot help but wonder what’s going on in this place.” Searcy, Fusion, Pg. 53
Submitted by Jonathan Norder, Kelloggsvile CRC
Established Church Ministry update.