One of the most difficult things to do in life is to walk into a church for the very first time. To walk through the doors of an unknown congregation is like leaping out the door of an airplane. We understand how you feel. There’s anxiety, fear, trepidation, and the hope that your parachute will actually open at the appropriate time. Okay, maybe not the parachute, but all the emotions certainly apply. It’s hard to seek a place to worship especially when you have no particular denominational affiliation and are simply looking for a nurturing, challenging, inspiring community of faith.
As we’ve recently revamped the organizational structure of our newcomer’s ministry at "the Mission" it occurred to me that our approach is best thought of as a three-legged stool. The legs are Welcoming, Events, and Incorporation. Many churches emphasize one leg over the other and we do this to our detriment. To be fully effective, we believe, all three legs must be attended to with intentionality. In many churches, the reality is that everyone at coffee hour wants to connect with friends they haven’t seen all week. We know it takes intentionality and congregational awareness to be a truly welcoming congregation. The overused phrase "All are Welcome" is false advertising unless it’s backed up by action. We strive to create an authentic culture of caring relationships.