Q&A

A group of snowbirds who met at a church in Florida are planning a potluck this summer in West Michigan. Any ideas for entertainment?

April 25, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

We might not know our neighbours or even like our neighbours, but we need to hear God’s call and allow it to guide our faith and actions to love our neighbours on the streets, in schools, at work, and in our churches. 

April 21, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

I remember the turning point for Larry’s new faith journey. He had witnessed a model of service that was new to him—a church that showed it cared about those who are afflicted.

March 27, 2017 1 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Imagine someone comes knocking at your door or at your church door asking for help. What are the first questions you ask them? 

March 27, 2017 2 0 comments
Blog

Many congregations experience an influx of visitors over Christmas. And sometimes in the rush to welcome those who are new, we forget to enfold those who used to be more familiar—like the young adults and students. 

December 13, 2016 3 0 comments
Blog

While on vacation in South Carolina, my wife and I worshiped at First Zion Baptist Church. And though it was immediately clear that we were visitors in a strange land, this little church with a big heart welcomed us. . . 

October 10, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

Several years back, a middle-aged couple in our church told me: “We’ve been members here for 12 years and we still feel like outsiders.” 

September 28, 2016 1 2 comments
Blog

I was struck dumb, my mind racing. What had I done or said to evoke such a question? I don’t remember how the conversation concluded. But I do remember its impact on me.

June 14, 2016 2 0 comments
Blog

Two years ago I heard a young woman say, “I long to be part of a church that smells like Jesus.” Her longing forced me to stand in front of the mirror of self-reflection. 

May 4, 2016 2 0 comments
Resource, Report

Focusing less on practical accessibility concerns, this study looks at the church, the Christian community, as it responds—whether positively or negatively—to the presence of persons with disabilities. 

April 7, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

This welcome statement challenges me to reconsider whether there are people I’ve labeled as beyond God’s reach and therefore not truly welcome to worship...

February 29, 2016 1 1 comments
Resource, Article

I recently talked to a church that was looking for materials to help them become more welcoming. I've shared some resources I found but would love to hear your tips as well! 

January 21, 2016 1 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Has your church has found any creative or practical ways to minister and show love to those who are homebound during the winter?

January 18, 2016 2 1 comments
Discussion Topic

It’s been said, “You only get one first impression.” If that is the case, what kind of information should church signs include? How can we encourage people to pull into the parking lot?

August 6, 2015 1 4 comments
Blog

Our congregation’s MOSAIC ministry began with a simple dinner invitation. We hosted 3 visiting Chinese scholars, and 2 Indian students. What a joy it was to learn of each other’s culture...

March 31, 2015 3 1 comments
Blog

“Ministry of presence” is a favorite phrase of chaplains to describe how they work -- with or without words -- to be the vehicle of God’s love. Some speak of this as “incarnational ministry.”

December 15, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

The Apostle Paul was all in favor of hospitality. But his reasons for urging believers to be hospitable were visionary. He uses Romans 12 to tell people how to express it in their daily lives.

November 3, 2014 1 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This recorded webinar explores how and why living in, with and among your neighbours is so important.

September 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

I stood there all by my lonesome. I stood there for a little bit too. Being about 6 foot 5 and that night wearing a very bright Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans, I couldn’t be missed. But I seemed to have been forgotten...

July 24, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Approximately three percent of the earth’s population is living in a country or setting that is different from the one in which they were born. Many of these people have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

June 19, 2014 0 0 comments
Q&A

We are in the process of further developing our welcome center in our church. and the duties involved in successfully greeting and welcoming visitors.  We have some ideas but wonder if any of the CRC churches have an actual job description that describe the ways in which we can serve.

 

August 20, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Here are a couple of webinar recordings that may be helpful to those working in hospitality ministry in the church. Both are less than 60 minutes in length.

Being a welcoming church and extending hospitality goes beyond the greeting at the door, the smiles and the handshakes. If you're...

January 24, 2013 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 06/27/2012 In this webinar, we'll look at principles and best practices for being a welcoming church.

June 27, 2012 0 0 comments
Q&A

Network readers, I need your help! I can't figure out why people aren't completing visitor cards. I know we probably have 1-2 visitors per week, but we're seeing 1-2 cards per month. Here's what we've been doing:

   - There is a "Communication Card" in every bulletin, and bulletins are...

July 19, 2011 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic

The Network is a meeting place for those who love Christ’s church and want to grow in service to Him through its ministries. Our goal is that The Network will be a pathway for conversation and learning about ministry in the local church. Here something we wanted to share related to your ministry...

December 28, 2010 0 1 comments

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I have been pretty critical of quite a number of Do Justice articles in the past but this is a good one.  It focuses on how each of us should regard and treat our neighbors, and avoids taking a position on what the government should do in terms of setting or enforcing immigration laws.

I love their concept of membership! Great example of hospitality – thanks for sharing! ~Stanley

Great post, Chris. And I really appreciate your comment, Tim. I'd love to talk further about this. Personally, my weeks are busy and I sometimes barely keep up with family and close friends as is. Maybe it's just a matter of investing in these relationships (outside of Sunday) a high priority. Any ideas?

posted in: Belonging

Chris,

Thanks for the thoughtful article. I think many can resonate with the great difference between a friendly church and a church where you find friends. Our busy lives mitigate against the Friday night hanging out encounters that are so important for really knowing each other. May the Lord help us become the family He intends us to be.

Tim

posted in: Belonging

 I have shared it with the elders of my church.

Maybe I've missed something along the way, but I see absolutely no conflict whatsoever in any way with being "welcoming but not affirming." We – personally and corporately – *have to be* if we wish to get up in the morning and look ourselves in the mirror, much less evangelize or serve our neighbors. 

Have we assumed differently? Has our biblical opposition to sin really given us the idea that really bad sinners (i.e. people who sin differently than me) really are beyond repentance? I pray that's not what we think – and I pray that’s not what people outside the Church think. After all, the God who said, “Go and sin no more.” said it after invading our sinful world and stepping into our flesh. Paul doesn’t “become all things to all men” so he can reject them out-of-hand. When Paul wrote “and such were some of you,” he testified that the gospel reaches into all sorts of people’s lives and gives them new life and repentance.

posted in: A Gracious Welcome

I like the keep-it-simple approach, Cindy. Also agree that service times/contact information are a must (key for new visitors). Thanks for sharing!

A good church sign?  Is there such a thing?  Just kidding, sort of.  Far too many of them are posted by someone who didn't think about the fact that someone besides their own members might be reading it.  In my opinion, the service times and a phone number should be a given.  If there's room, an encouraging scripture verse is fine, or an announcement for a special upcoming event.  Not acceptable: puns (there are NO exceptions to this, no matter how cute somebody thought it was); politics other than a simple encouragement to get out and vote; or any cutesy phrases only churchgoers would understand.  

I think one thing those of us who are wealthier are called to consider is not using our wealth to travel somewhere warm.  I think this needs discussing in our broader church: the use of our wealth, the call to community, to be present, to care for those who don't have that kind of wealth.

When I'm away in another city, I like to see Sunday service times listed on church signs. This should be a natural extension of church hospitality to make it easy for visitors, people who're looking for a new church home, and/or the person who's been away from the church for awhile, to see the times when they can attend a worship service. 

A church sign can be a powerful thing!  Often, while driving about, consumed with life's busyness, a church sign with a simple message gives me pause and redirects my thoughts.

That's an excellent account of outreach and compassion done in a natural manner!  Thanks for sharing it.  It's very encouraging!

Ken Van De Griend

Thanks for these suggestion on hospitality. I follow all of these instruction but with all this i use to give a smile, otherone feels more comfortable with this. 

 

Posting twice for some reason too - it's cooler inside in the office than outside (37 degrees C)

On the contrary here, when visitors get a call or a letter within a week or two, they are very surprised and pleased. They love the church shopping bag.  Many visitors come back because we have paid attention to them. Of course, it's all a God thing. Blessings! 

Posting twice for some reason...

When I did evangelism in more urban areas, I noticed that many didn't always fill out the welcome cards. At one place, we doubled them as a prayer request card and had them place them in the offering plate. We had our congregational praye after the offering and prayed for those who gave permission to pray. This raised the number of those submitting but they were more members than visitors.

Another place had the cards to be filled out but had no one really set aside to follow up on them. I too noticed that people were more apt at filling out the card when asked personally by me.

One other item of note, being an experinced church shopper (while in college and seminary I tried finding a church to regularly attend) I hated filling out the forms because I'd sometimes be bombarded with mail, phone calls, and people visiting me after one or two visits. And when I didn't come then next time, they would call or visit and want to know why I didnt show up on Sunday. It drove me away more than it made me want to come. After a while, I stopped filling out anything.

Kudos on the manga messiah. I have that one and think it's a great tool. It's also done by an actual mangaka (officialy liscened and trained manga artist in Japan). I like the welcome packet. Out of curiosity, how much return do you see on the welcome packet? Do people come back afterwards as a repeat visitor or do they not return?

We too have tried welcome cards in the pews, but that did not seem to work. We are back to our tried and true method of our visitor register. An average of 2 - 4 visitors from the community come each week and so our Outreach Team along with our two Outreach elders keep an eye out for newcomers, greet them and lead them over to the information center where they are invited to sign our guest register. They then receive a church shopping bag (filled with info about the church, a dvd, devos for adults and a Manga Messiah for the kids etc.) Within the week of the visit they are sent a welcome letter. It just seems they do not mind signing a guest register, but somehow don't like to fill out cards. Still some visitors fall through the cracks.

Blessings on your passion for making the church a welcoming place.

<p>We do have a pedestal station with our guestbook where they can also fill these out. The guest book helps with acknowledging visitors. We are not perfect, or even that good at these things, but these are my observations about things I think will work well if we use them.</p>

Thanks for the input Fred! Do you have a counter or info booth or something that makes it easy for people to fill out the card on the spot?

We have greeters, but also hosts serving weekly at our church. The hosts welcome visitors personally and encourage them to fill out cards. My experience, both as a home church member and as a visitor is that few persons will fill these out unless specifically requested by another person who greets them and visits with them as a visitor.

Hi Rebecca, I n my area there is a church where even the senior pastor waves cars in and greats people at the door.. It;s welcoming group greets you and asks questions like if your familiar with facilities etc. It's very enticing.

Thanks

Ken