Preparing for a New Member – part 2

babyAs my wife and I prepared for our new addition to our family we would have loved to build a new room perfect for our newborn, but that would have been impossible. Instead we chose to prepare and do the very best with the baby room that we could possibly do. The room may not have had the newest drywall, but we did make sure it got a fresh coat of paint. The crib isn’t brand new, but I repaired it to make sure that it operated correctly. We got new sheets and curtains to freshen up the room.

When I began this series I likened the welcoming of a newborn child into a family, similar to the welcoming of a guest to our church. There are three phases of welcoming a guest into our church: preparation, process and… product. Of course, there are times where you’d like to build a children’s educational wing with all the bells and whistles or spend tens of thousands of dollars on landscaping, but both of these projects may be challenging to accomplish because of finances, but we can make sure that the facilities God has given us do look the very best that they possibly can.

The preparation has to do with what we as a church family can do to prepare to welcome a guest. Statistics tell us that guests already have formed an opinion of a church before they ever get into a service. They’ve viewed the church grounds, looked for a parking spot, exchanged eye contact with a parking lot attendant, looked for signage to direct them to the correct entrance, received a bulletin and taken in the atmosphere of a church lobby. Believe it or not, most assessments are made without one conversation, one note of music played or any portion of a sermon – completely non-verbal. So it’s important to regularly look at the physical exterior and interior from a guest’s vantage point.

We can either create the image we want people to remember us by, or they will create the image by which they will remember us. Fresh paint, new carpet, weedless parking lots and uninhibited friendliness may at times seem unnecessary, but it may be the very difference between a one-time visit and a second and third visit.

Here are a few suggestions to help your family prepare for a new arrival (guest) at Bethel:

  • Consider parking in the gravel parking lot so that guest may have the better parking spots
  • Keep an eye out for trash to be picked up or a weed to be pulled
  • Smile at someone as you walk into church from the parking lot
  • If someone is getting out of their car or walking in, approach them and ask if there’s anything you can do to be a help to them. Maybe help them find the nursery, restrooms, children’s classes or the auditorium.
  • Be aware in the lobby for a family you may not recognize and introduce yourself
  • As you drive to church have a quick word of prayer for the service, Pastor’s preaching and any guests who will be arriving for the morning service.

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