The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bring them in, Keep them in

Why do people stop coming to church?

Seen on Facebook
The purpose of gathering on Sunday is to encourage one another. If you go to church but fail to encourage others, you've missed the point. If you don't go to church to bless others, you're not doing it right.

Seen on Facebook
If you are so strong that you don't need the church and don't attend, you are selfish because someone there might need you.

Why do YOU go to church?
*Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 ESV)
*For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20 ESV)
*So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 ESV)
*And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42 ESV)
*And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)
*Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)
*But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13 ESV)
*For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV)
*For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10 ESV)

Many have gone their whole lives, others have started later on. Those are the ones that I want to talk about: the visitors, the newcomers.
Bill and I are always visitors and much of our "church experience" depends on how we are treated as visitors.

There was a survey posted on the Internet as to why visitors don't return. This is a list of things the visitors didn't like, in order of their dislike.
1. Meet and greet
2. Inadequate info- nicknames and initials
3. Assuming they know how-communion, nursery, order of service, etc.
4.  No one Greets them
5. Sitting in someone's pew or parking in their spot
6.  Service ends abruptly 
7. Childcare,not friendly and clean
8. Music, it was to emphasized or was a downer?
9.  Not very friendly
10. Bad website or answering machine
11. Insincerity from the people
12.  Where is the "rockstar?" (Preacher nowhere to be found after service)
13.  We're not engaged on second visit
14.  Worried of being singled out 
15. No visitor parking

What you can do to help visitors
1 Be a gracious host to the guests. They are guests of God, not strangers
2. Provide parking for visitors
3. Act as if  It's up to you to be welcoming
4. Smile genuinely and offer your hand
5. Take the initiative in conversation
6. Get their name and remember it
7. A handshake or pat on the arm or shoulder will do (no hugs)
8. Learn something about them.
9. Listen attentively to them 
10. Bend to greet kids
11. Invite visitors to do something/anything with the church
12. Never let anyone (visitor or not) to sit alone.
13. Be a tour guide
14. Provide visitor registration and follow up ASAP
15. Talk to them again after service, tell them you're glad they came

We want our visitors to return. We want them to feel accepted. And our goal toward visitors should be, to bring them in and encourage them to become part of the church.

Hebrews 13:2 ESV 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

1 Peter 4:9 ESV 

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:13 ESV

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Leviticus 19:34 ESV 

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lordyour God.

Titus 1:8 ESV 

But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

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