My mind was made up, I was headed to Wal-Mart before the heat. 8 am didn’t really beat the heat but at least I was able to park in the shade. As I walked in the door an obviously morning person shouted, “hello, how are you?” She was over weight, plain and certainly enjoyed her greeting job.
My checkers ( I had two) were equally cheerful, we chatted about produce, gardening, and the fact that it was a lousy year for squash and tomatoes but there were plenty of other great things in his garden. They sacked my groceries, took my money and sent me on my way.
As I left the store the same cheerful woman bid me a cheerful goodbye. Her good-bye was musical in tone, odd for a greeter at Wal-Mart.
You already know where I am going with this if you don’t your blessed. My plea is to make members and visitors feel as welcome at church as I felt at Wal-Mart. This should be easy and yet it doesn’t always happen. I am still on the kick of let’s visit with one another, smile, chat a little after church and before. Let’s show ourselves friendly, make a joyful noise and shout a greeting.
This is the last of the posts on making sure your church is friendly, not only to visitors but to members. It is possible to feel alone and lonely when you have been a church member for a very long time.
Think about this, there is no way you would invite someone to your home and then just sit there and never say a word. Yet when we walk into the sanctuary have you noticed we usually just sit down. Last summer the AC in our church had to be replaced. It was the usual hot summer and we decided to meet in our upstairs fellowship hall. We only had chairs to sit on but it worked. In my book it really worked. I noticed people actually talking to each other, they would even turn the chairs around and visit. There was a wonderful, warm, friendly feeling in the fellowship hall. As soon as we moved back to the sanctuary we fell back to our old ways of just walking to our same spots and sitting.
Smile! A smile makes your face attractive. It makes your face welcoming. Greet Everyone with a smile. We have a man in our church, his name is Dan. He is always so upbeat and has a great big smile on his face, he makes everyone feel welcome and worthwhile.
Sometimes the drive to church is not always a pleasant one. At my house we are usually running very late and I am not always a happy camper by the time we leave for church. At my daughter’s house it is always a rush to find the shoes, jackets and the to do bag. By the time we arrive at church we would have reason to have a frown on our face. Take a moment to warm up your smile by thinking of the good things in your life and thanking God for his blessings.
Don’t overlook the importance of greeting the people you meet with a smile and shake hands to those around you. Do this before and after every service. Learn their names. Even if your church has official greeters, you’re not off the hook. When church is over don’t rush out the door, stay by and visit a little and greet those who have been sitting around you.
The last thing I want to say on this is to thank the people serving. Smile and say thanks to at least 3 people each week. Some of these people may be paid others are volunteers but thank them for what they do.
Well, there you have it! I would love to hear some success stories from you. Mother Teresa said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
Today we went to church just as we do every Saturday. We were barely on time just as we are every Saturday. I won’t tell you who is the one at our house that makes us late or almost late but it’s not me. We walked into the sanctuary from the side door just as we do every week. We sat in our usual spot and when the service was over we left. Not one person spoke to me.
Odd I have been going to this church for over 40 years and I didn’t even meet anyone to stop and visit with. It’s okay I don’t mind but what if I did. What if that was enough to make me not want to go back. So what about being friendly at church? Don’t get me wrong, I certainly could have and should have found someone to welcome. Do you know friendliness can make your church grow?
“Group”–surveyed 750 people to answer this question: What’s the most important factor that makes a place friendly? Here is the list of the top five characteristics most important in conveying friendliness. This is in the order of importance.
1. Belonging–It’s important to feel like you belong. Try inviting people home for dinner or if you don’t cook perhaps meet at a restaurant and spend some time together. Host something. Invite a few people from church over for a game night, a movie night, a football party, anything. People love to be together. What are your hobbies? Perhaps you can invite someone over to work on a hobby together. It is important to help everyone feel like they belong.
3. Relaxed Fit
4. Talk to Me
We are going to work on this list and see if we can become more friendly. Are you with me?
Yesterday, in church, I noticed something!
First I have to tell you our air conditioning unit no longer works, it not only doesn’t work it can’t be fixed. It was going to cost somewhere around $250,000 for a new unit. Suddenly a new unit was available for around $150,000 because the company who ordered it is no longer in business. (Now don’t hold me to the exact details, my personality can’t deal with exactness) If you know what I mean. God is good to us, another whole study could be done on is He good to the company who went bankrupt. We will save that for another time.
So Lincoln, Nebraska–July–summer–spells warm no hot no very hot. We have moved our church services to Heartland Hall, the new addition we added a couple of years ago.
Here is where the buzzzzzzzz comes in, in this less formal setting people are talking, they are visiting, they are warm and friendly. They turn their chairs around and visit with their neighbor. It was thrilling to watch as my church came alive with fellowship. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of how formal and dignified we must feel in the sanctuary, so much so that we can’t chat, laugh and be friendly.
I am praying that when we move back into the sanctuary we will somehow take this new found freedom with us.