It seems that when churches aren’t talking about how to attract newcomers, they’re talking about how to welcome the newcomers once they’ve arrived. In order to aid this discussion, the church sofa presents 10 things that a Church can do to be more welcoming:
- Have all the chairs pointing to the entrance. Therefore anyone who arrives late can see ALL the smiling faces!
- Have children’s groups, but in the interest of security don’t tell people where they are.
- Ask newcomers to stand during the service and introduce themselves.
- Ensure that people only enter via the entrance hall, this way they get the welcome experience that they won’t get if they go any other way.
- To ensure you look like a welcoming church, ensure people gather and chat around the welcome desk. Newcomers will see this as they slip past and think that your church is incredibly welcoming.
- Have stairs leading to the creche. Parents are used to dealing with push chairs and stairs anyway.
- Whilst performing the peace encourage all to greet new comers with a “Holy Kiss”.
- Randomly change the time and venue of your main Sunday meeting. People love change.
- Doing something a little different this Sunday morning? Don’t worry about explaining it to people if they walk in late. They’ll just have to talk to people to work out whats going on.
- Encourage people to talk by removing signs to the toilets.
Are there any hints you can share?
Update: World Vision president Rich Stearns has spoken to the Huffington Post giving insight into what the staff at World Vision have been through over the last week.
I feel sorry for World Vision.
On Monday 24th March, Christianity Today reported the following about World Vision:
World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.
Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.
Judging from the comments on line, it looks like the American branch of World Vision was besieged by angry Christians armed to the teeth with pitchforks and flaming arrows. Judging from the tweets from people talking about pulling their child sponsorship, I think its fair to say that people weren’t happy.
Forty Eight hours later, the following statement is released by World Vision:
“The board acknowledged it made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. … We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority.”
Prompting what is currently a small flurry of negative comments about World Vision from people who supported their original decision.
Not a good time to be working for World Visions PR. Cant help but feel sorry for those guys. Hopefully by this time next week the storm will have passed for them. If nothing else positive has come from this, hopefully some new people have signed up to sponsor a kid over the last couple of days. Then at least there would have been some love shown in this situation.