During our weekly staff meeting we reviewed Thom Ranier's "Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests." For the most part we felt fairly good about Community ... things we do and don't do that were mentioned in this article. But there was one that really caught our attention ... and it's one that costs absolutely nothing to implement!
Number two on the list is "unfriendly church members." This was the primary place where our staff felt like we struggle the most with church guests. We found this to be a little bit odd and even somewhat disheartening because there was a time in the not too distant past that Community was widely known as "the friendly church." We know that some will protest and say, "We ARE a friendly church!" And we totally agreed with this assessment ... but also must qualify it by saying we're very friendly to each other, but not to our guests. And we didn't mention this as an accusation against the rest of the church ... we were talking about our own weakness and failure! It's so fun to see one another every Sunday that we often get caught up in doing stuff with each other yet we then neglect to welcome our church guests.
Yet we do notice that others in the CPC church family struggle with the same thing. Being on stage allows us to view the entire room and we often see new folks come in the sanctuary door without anyone getting up to greet or welcome them, or help them find a seat, or introduce them to other church folks. Can you imagine sitting at home and noticing some strangers walking into your home ... and you then just ignored them or whispered to another family member, "who's that?" CPC is our home and it's good to be comfortable here. But let's be intentional and once again regain that reputation as being "friendly" toward our guests.
This Sunday we'll continue in our study of 1 Peter as we examine 3:13-17. We've just concluded a section that dealt with submission ... now we jump into the next section that instructs us on how to handle and respond to suffering! Please read this passage in preparation for this Sunday's worship. And come ready and eager to welcome our guests!