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We Will No Longer be a Welcoming Church

posted 28 Jul 2016, 19:19 by Bulletin Team   [ updated 18 Aug 2016, 16:52 by SysAdmin Lakes Parish ]
We’ve decided to quit being a welcoming church. No kidding. We’re giving it up. It won’t be easy, but we’re committed to it. 

We’ll have to do it in stages, easing our people into it step by step. We’ll have to deal with the fear of something new,                                                   the challenge of venturing into the unknown. But we’ll do it. It will take motivation, leadership, and constant reminders. 

But most importantly, it will take total commitment in embracing a new focus.

Like so many churches, we’ve sunk an amazing amount of time and energy into becoming a welcoming church. 

We changed worship styles, we trained greeters and ushers, we wore name tags, we prepared coffee, we went to workshops on hospitality,            we put our friendliest people in the most prominent places on Sunday mornings. But we’ve realized we’ve been misplacing our emphasis. 

So we’re no longer going to do it.

Here’s what we’re doing instead. We are becoming an Inviting Church. That’s different. 

You see, “welcoming” from a missional perspective is passive. It denotes waiting for visitors and guests to drop by. 

When they do, we attempt to treat them very well and do everything possible to make them comfortable. We’ll be willing to change who we are. We’ll follow particular formats that have proven to be more welcoming to new people. 

We’ll do whatever it takes to have them come back the next Sunday, even if they shouldn’t. Welcoming is about us, not about them.

“Inviting,” however, is different. That means we leave the comfort of our congregational home-court advantage. The main activity doesn’t happen in our worship space when people drop in, but in the neighbourhood when we go out. It isn’t so much welcoming them into our place, but going out into their place and meeting them there.

Even that warrants a significant caveat. This is not just another gimmick to get people into the church. The foundation of this isn’t an attempt to bolster declining membership rolls and make a better parochial report to the bishop. No, it goes much deeper than that. 

It starts with who God has called us to be as church. It involves discovering our gifts and purpose. And it mandates joining God at work in the world. This isn’t about getting the world into God’s church; it’s about getting the church into God’s world.

   Robert Moss

 

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