Have you ever felt not welcomed at church? Have you ever been to a church for the first time and feel invisible? I am an introvert and do not appreciate being called out during service, but I’m referring to just being acknowledged and made to feel loved by the members or volunteers of the church.
My husband and I visited several churches right after we got married, and they all had the same plan in place for new visitors. They had a “new visitor booth”, which since i’m new, I don’t really want to stand out, and there’s only one person there as a volunteer, so if somebody else comes, they’ll be waiting for me to leave. Not to mention if there’s already somebody else there. It makes it so transactional, as if i’m in a conference and go to the “New Visitor” booth to ask for a map of where I should go. This is church!! this is where we are supposed to spread the love of Jesus, a love that is unconditional. I really don’t think church is made for the introvert, but only for the outgoing who are pros at building relationships within it’s members of the congregation.
What about if you are new? does somebody notice? would somebody just come and say hi? i’m at a church for the first time because i’m interested to find out more of what the church is teaching. I’m interested in finding answers to my problems, or trying to find who this God is that Christians speak about. When do people are most likely to attend church? when they feel pain. When they feel lost and need answers. What happens when somebody like that attends church and feels invisible? feels that they don’t fit in since everybody already knows everybody in that church.
How do these new visitors perceive God? what if they truly don’t know God and are just there to find out who He is? what impression would they take after they get in the car without anybody approaching them asking them, just maybe, how they are doing? what can we do to serve them? what are their needs? or what other questions could we be possibly asking to show the love of Jesus? and meet them where they are at that particular moment. Should we invite them for a cup of coffee and try to get to know them? isn’t this all about relationships?
If you ask me, i rather have people leave the church because we tried to care for them, then leave the church because nobody engaged with them.
My husband and I recently joined a new church. I was randomly writing about a bible study that I just signed up for and a movie that we had just watched. Somehow both outcomes turned out to be the same: how I felt as a new visitor to this new church we are visiting. This church is amazing, the Word of God is so powerful how it’s being delivered. Not to mention the worship is so, how can I find a word to describe? powerful!. There’s not doubt that God has led us to that church, and that we are being convicted left and right on every service we attend. One thing I did feel, which is the same way I felt when I first started going to my old church, is invisible. The body of Christ, for my husband and I, is really all the family we truly have. None of our families know the Lord, and therefore we are desperately seeking for our family in the church. It’s so exciting when we finally find our home church, but yet get so discouraged of how hard it is to be noticed and cared for.
My question is, how responsible is the church in reaching out new visitors, and how much is our responsibility, both, as a church member, or as a new visitor to reach out? Can there be a way to make it easier? from the church stand point, could we possibly try to get to know most members of our church and know when somebody new attends?
By the way, by a new visitor I’m referring to somebody who goes to church for the first time, to a believer who is looking for a new home. Both have the same issue, fitting in into an already established family. It’s like going to somebody else’s house, and the homeowner doesn’t acknowledge you.