While I was on vacation in Missouri I attended a church that was in the process of taking their welcome of new guests to a new level. They realized that while they had good children’s and youth ministry, great programming, inspiring worship services and good preaching, there was still something needed to retain the guests who visited their church for the first time.
They had studied a book titled, “The Comeback Effect” by Jason Young and Jonathon Malm. This book not only speaks to good practices in creating a positive welcome, but stresses the necessity of building a “culture” of welcome, where it is not just those serving in the assigned positions of ushers and greeters, but everyone becomes an agent of welcome in the church.
I picked up a copy of the book and reading it I thought to myself, “I know most of this stuff.” I realized, however, I wasn’t always practicing what the book was teaching. I think that is sometimes the difference between a good welcome and a great welcome. We know what we should do, but do we do it every time?
I believe if everyone at Wightman read this book and took it seriously, it would totally transform the way we welcome people into our church. Realistically, I know this is unlikely, but I have set as a goal to have at least 100 people read this book by the end of the summer. I am encouraging Sunday School classes to study it, small groups to read through it, and even the formation of new groups just to look at the material and see how we can implement some of the ideas into our church.
As we begin to roll out the study of this book, I hope you will join us in being open to new ideas and better ways to treat our guests and each other. It will be amazing to see how just a few small changes can make a BIG impact on our church.