Christina Walker works for the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. A couple of years ago she took part in a research project studying effective outreach of churches. The findings: The first and most important activity of effectively evangelistic churches is to offer a welcoming, inclusive environment most importantly on a Sunday morning.
When I was coaching churches who had taken the Natural Church Development survey, not one church thought they were “unwelcoming” even though the survey, which they filled out, indicated this was a weak area in their church. The disconnect comes from the reality that regular members of the church feel the church is friendly, because they already have many connections within the community of faith. Newcomers, however, do not know people and often don’t feel as welcome as the church wants them to feel.
Wightman is a welcoming church, but like any church we can make improvements by increasing our understanding of what it is like for a guest to come to our church for the very first time. To help us in this endeavor, we are going to hold a Welcome Training Event on February 17 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. While this event will be helpful for ushers and greeters, it is intended for the whole congregation of Wightman. To create a truly welcoming environment everyone is responsible for making it happen.
I will be sharing some insights taken from the Disney Institute on Customer Service and, more importantly, we will be outlining what we want guests to experience here at our church and coming up with a process and procedures to make them feel welcome.
I know that we are all busy and our Sunday afternoons are precious, but I hope you will make it a priority to be at this training session. I believe it will make a difference in the atmosphere of our church and welcome more people into our community of faith and into the family of God.