Last night, Josh and I went to an area fast food restaurant. We walked in, picked out our items and paid for them. From the time we walked in, set our items on the counter and walked out, not a word was spoken to us. I mean, not one word. They did not even tell me what my total was, I had to look at the register display to know how much to pay. I was disappointed in the service and even considered never going back BUT, it is my favorite fast food chain.
I left there last night wondering if this ever happens in church. Do guests come into the church and never get spoken to? Do they have to find their own way around, even though they have never been there before? Do they feel out of place because the only ones we talk to are the ones we know?
The truth is, in churches all around our nation, guests come in and leave dissatisfied customers. In our church, we must make sure that our customers are satisfied with our service (our welcoming atmosphere and friendliness). It is intimidating enough to go to a new church where they do not know anyone. When they are not greeted and received, they feel out of place and will possibly never return. We must be intentional to welcome, encourage and speak to everyone we see, whether we know them or not.
A couple of years ago, Sonya and I visited a church in Norman, Oklahoma where we had an experience like this. We arrived 15 minutes early and sat in a seat while people fellowshipped all around us but no one spoke to us or greeted us. Not a word was spoken to us from the time we arrived until the time we left (an hour and a half). We left there and agreed that as long as we could help it, this would never happen in any church we pastored. I am thankful that in the churches we have pastored there has been a welcoming spirit. At RFA, there is a great effort made to make everyone feel welcome. Keep up the good work!
Be friendly, reach out to guests, welcome everyone and make an effort to ensure that they come back. Who knows if that will be the most meaningful contact that guest has this week.