Welcome to our church?
Imagine you are here with your family and your 8 year old, ‘Junior’ is anxious and needs to use the bathroom. It is their first time and so they arrived almost ten minutes early. There aren’t very may cars in the parking lot so our family wonders if they got the time right……
They walk towards the first door they see, the preschool, but that door is locked and so they walk down the sidewalk. Junior is really needing a bathroom… They see another door, it has a faded sign on it that says ‘office’ and another below it that say ‘Sanctuary’. Good news, it is open and so our family walks in. They are there in the hall, Junior is now dancing around…. really, really needs a bathroom. In front of them are the windows to the office, the lights off, dark, no one there. Poor mom sees a big, bright door on the right and says “It must be that way!” She goes and tries to open the door. It is the door to the preschool and is locked. “Nope!”
They turn and walk down the hall. Unfortunately the doors to the women’s and men’s restrooms are propped open and dark so they miss seeing the signs. Junior is about to explode. Mom spots the restroom sign on the handicap restroom and in a flash Junior disappears inside. The family looking around waits just outside, not sure where to go next. They hear some sounds from down the hall but they don’t want to leave Junior alone.
Junior emerges finally and after a lecture on hand washing, our family sees lights and a big open space just down the hall. “That must be the sanctuary!” They walk in and see a big open room with a few people busy getting tables and chairs out, some are putting food on a table. A little perplexed the family stands there wondering what kind of church service this might be with all the tables and chairs.
Mom hears some organ music coming from outside the doors they just came in and see another open room. She can see the backs of the pews and the head of what must be the organist. She tugs at her husbands arm, points, and quietly says “I think it is in there.” They move out of the fellowship hall, across the hall and into the sanctuary through the side door. No one is there to greet them. They were so focused on the fact they finally found the sanctuary that they missed the person standing in the Narthex handing out bulletins. They quietly slip in the back pews…… Later, without a bulletin to guide them and confused about the whole service they quietly slip out during a hymn and find their way back to their car, never to return.
This is what our Worship Team (see more about joining our team later) walked through during one of our meetings. We looked at our church through new eyes and saw how incredibly ‘insider facing’ our whole building is. We discussed ways that we might address this and make the whole experience more focused on people visiting, on new people, on being ‘outside facing.’
In Romans 15:7, Paul reminds us to ““Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” This theme is expressed over and over again throughout the bible. The theme of welcoming anyone seeking God. I believe God is a welcoming God and we should model that behavior. During our same Worship Team meeting several suggestions came up from greeters to new parking spaces and signs. There was some ‘we have suggested that before’ sort of talk but we soon realized that we were the force of change. As a Worship Team it would do little good if we made an amazing worship experience for people and they could not even find the right door to go to!
I’m was going to ask our Trustees (who I have piled way to much onto lately) to get some signs built but instead I’ve decided to ask you. Yes, you, the person reading this article. Here’s what we need just to get started.
- A permanent, weatherproof sign that instructs people how to get from the parking lot to the nearest door. That sign has to be clear and easy to understand and should also point parents towards the preschool if that is where they are headed.
- A permanent sign that reserves five close-in parking for first time visitors to the church (Sundays) or the preschool (weekdays)
- An indoor sign that points people to: a. the Sanctuary, b. the Fellowship Hall, c. Bathrooms, d. The Preschool (and we need a doorbell on the preschool that rings up to the office)
- New signs on the outside of the hallway restrooms
- Signs that are portable that can identify Sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, and the new Christian Education Room (what? You don’t know what that is? Ask Pastor Rick!)
- We have an important mission. We are here to lead people to God through Jesus Christ. Can you think of a more important mission?
Want to help? Volunteer to be a part of the group, working with the Trustees, to design, procure, and place these new signs. Can’t join a group? Write a check (any amount, cash is accepted too) and put a note with it saying ‘Leading People To Christ’ (get it?)
We have at least nine doors to our building but no clear way in. I think it is time we changed that. My goal – New Signs By November 1st. Do you want to help?
About the Worship Team
We gather with Pastor Rick to plan and design the worship. Sometimes we discuss specific services or seasons (like Advent, Easter, Laity Sunday) and sometimes we are focused on changes to the services. Want to try something new? Watch for the notices of the next meeting and just show up! All are welcome!