Just imagine…you’ve invited people to a dinner party. You really want them to come, because you want them to meet an amazing friend of yours. But what happens if you don’t welcome these guests, you don’t speak to them and you show them such a lack of interest? Most of us have had guests over to our homes, and let’s face it – the thought of that situation is mortifying.
In March Christ Church kicked off a series in WELCOMING, by pointing out the physical signage as well as our presence on the internet. However, these are only small ways in which the people of Pietermaritzburg might come to know of Christ Church’s existence. Arguably the most effective way that people will know we exist, is through us, as current family members. We also want members to think through whether we as a community make the most of our times together, to make guests feel welcome – to seriously think about what we really are like as hosts?
So what can we as a church family do to improve our hosting skills?
1. Don’t be afraid to ask someone new whether they need a hand finding anything. Especially if they have little kids, a simple “hi, are you looking for the crèche” can be a great help.
2. Service leaders are going to use language which is more welcoming. This will include the ‘Christian’ speak we often use – which not everyone is familiar with. So if we talk about redemption, someone who has no idea of what that means could feel left out – the leader will thus explain those terms simply and quickly.
3. In our leading and notices, we will work at not assuming everyone knows what we’re talking about. For example, if there is a function in the Mary Jump Hall organised by Anne Barkhuizen, the announcement will explain where the Mary Jump Hall is, who Anne Barkhuizen is and where she can be found at the end of the service.
Another way Christ Church is hoping to become a more welcoming church is through the development of a Welcoming Team. At the moment the church has stewards who man the door, and do a great job of extending a friendly ‘hello’. A Welcoming Team will supplement this. The Welcome Team will try to identify new people, and introduce them to other members of the family and they’ll try and help with any queries that the visitors might have.
As a church family we want to do what we can to make sure that our gatherings are places where people feel welcome, and would want to come back to, so as to aid us in our mission of finding and growing followers of Jesus.