This past Thursday evening about 25 members of Sterling UMC gathered together to learn a little more about ourselves and our congregation; and to gain a little more insight into ways we can be more welcoming to those who may be first time guests or returning guests to our church.
Fulfilling one of the recommendations of the Next Level Innovations site survey; trainers Rev. Sarah Calvert, Melissa Dunlap, and Cynthia Lopynski from the Arlington-Alexandria District of the Virginia Conference UMC presented a great program.
All aspects of opportunity were discussed from the time a guest enters our doors, to what takes place in the sanctuary, to the after worship fellowship.
As a work group we entered our church from the parking lot taking note of visual aspects of welcoming and where we could be better resources for our visitors.
Entering our “narthex,” our code for lobby to a guest possibly, how can we make that experience helpful and welcoming, one to remember?
“The people we are welcoming do not necessarily know anything about our culture, our ways , the people they will be meeting, how to speak the language- be it English, or church-ese!”
The team talked about websites, parking lots, signage, ushers, greeters, fellowship, pews, announcements prayers, and follow up.
It was a great look from inside and out and all who attended gained from the experience.
“We are the Body of Christ. Literally…Welcoming people into community is a reflection of Christ in the community- it is our first priority as a community to welcome the newcomer.”
Closing Prayer from our session:
“Lord, make us ambassadors for you. Encourage us to use new gifts of hospitality to both make new disciples, and to deepen our understanding of your love for us. Send us to the next person, and the next person, seeking your face in the love we share with your guests in your community. Amen”
We are the body of Christ to our Sterling community; let us share the love.