To be held in the embrace of this church.
You will hear me use this phrase often―be held in the embrace of this church. There's an intimacy in this act. And that act requires risk. Yes, we have the greeters, the committee; yes, staff follows up with newcomers if they feel comfortable sharing their contact information. But that alone won't create an embrace. That's your job. Not a committee's. Not a greeter. Not a staffer. Are you doing it? How are you doing it? Do you wear your name tag? Say, "Hello?" Really engage in conversation? And how do we embrace those who are already here? Do you say, "Thank you!" to the people who made coffee or set out hospitality food? What is jeopardized if we don't "do friendly" well? Stay in right relationship? Stay in covenant? Our choice. Choose friendly.
We Need to Grow!?
I get very leery when church leadership say they want to "grow our church." I immediately ask, "Why?" If the word grow is not in the mission statement, then it is not a fundamental goal of this church. The difference we want to make in this world is not to have a bigger church. Will more people help us balance our budget? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. In order to grow a congregation, in order to become more diverse, start with friendly and really pay attention towhy you gather together in this Special Place. When you know that why, then with all your might and all your resources do that why with everything you have. Then people will come and they will stay. Do not grow; rather, engage.
What does it take?
See you in church. Wave and say “Hello!”
Interim Director of Children and Youth Ministries
Excerpted from In the Interim, a congregational assessment.