At times it’s hard to put yourself in a guest’s shoes, especially if you’ve been attending the church for a long time. Most of us who are really involved with our church have our groups of friends and people we know, and Sundays can come and go for many without ever meeting someone new.
For a church that regularly has guests, one of the most important things we can do as Christians is make them feel welcome. We have no idea where guests are at spiritually, nor do we know what’s going on in their lives.
Showing the love of Christ to guests involves making sure that they don’t come and go without meeting someone who makes them feel welcome. Here are some simple ways for members to show the love of Christ to a guest.
- Say something!
Say “Hello!” Say “Thanks for being here!” Introduce yourself. Try and get to know someone you don’t know, then look for them the following week to connect with them yet again. The goal isn’t just to make someone feel welcome, but to show the love of Christ to others. With this goal in mind, we should consistently get to know other people.
- Help them find a seat.
First, particularly if the auditorium is full, move over and invite guests to sit by you. Even if it’s not full, help people you don’t recognize find a seat near you! On another note, a good thought is to sit in the front, so those coming late don’t have to walk all the way to the front to find a seat. Lastly, don’t have an assigned seat that’s yours only. This may sound obvious, but many cite experiences in churches where they were asked to move because they were in someone else’s seat.
- Learn names.
Even for a smaller church, there are likely people you don’t know attending each Sunday. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with who you’ve met and who you’ve haven’t. This is why it’s important to be intentional in learning names, and then keeping them in your mind! I know that learning names is sometimes difficult, but it’s worth it. Perhaps nothing will help someone feel welcome the second time they visit more than a member remembering their name!
- Connect with guests.
Why not connect on Facebook with someone you met? Why not even invite them to lunch if you got to spend a bit of time with a guest on Sunday morning? Don’t pressure, and don’t stalk, but again, the pastor may not be able to connect with every guest, but if church members take seriously the need to connect with guests, I doubt even one guest will come and go without making a friend!
It’s easy to only talk to people you know on Sundays. Of course it’s good to connect with your friends and to pray for those you know. But people are seeking a place where they can come as they are and be loved.
Let’s not miss out on showing Christ’s love to every single person who walks in our doors! How we welcome people into the church will directly impact how they respond to church, and more importantly, to God.