All of us want to see people come to faith in Christ. Every believer knows how important it is that our friends, family and neighbors come to know the Lord. But when it comes to sharing our faith with others we sometimes get tongue tied. There is something all of us can do to become part of the outreach of our church to our community. We can all be friendly.
A friendly invitation Research shows that a large percentage of people will come to church when they are invited. Research also shows that only 21% of church members will invite someone to church in a year but only 2% of these invitations are extended to an unchurched person! Weíre missing out on a simple yet powerful way to reach people for ChristóINVITE THEM TO COME TO CHURCH! We are in the process of printing up business card size invitations that everyone can use to invite others to church. Letís begin using the power of a friendly invitation!
A friendly welcome
Another important factor in reaching people for Christ is being sure we are welcoming them in a friendly way when they visit our church. At a recent training session we were challenged to think about the difference between being friendly to each other and being friendly to guests. We get used to each other and we enjoy being with each other and we tend to gravitate to known friends when we come to church. Therefore, we must become intentional in our efforts to welcome guests with genuine friendliness. Here are some things to consider.
∑ The power of first impressions. The research indicates that most first-time guests determine whether they will make a second visit within seven minutes from the time they enter the parking lot of the church.
∑ The power of relieving anxiety. Research indicates that 75% of people experience high anxiety when entering a new building for the first time. Many feel intimidated about coming to a new church and meeting new people. Experiencing friendliness soon after entering can alleviate their anxiety.
∑ The power of belonging. Research indicates only 36% of people in US congregations have a sense of belonging in their church. This can be overcome only as people experience genuine friendliness and acceptance.
We can multiply our effectiveness at reaching people for Christ by welcoming guests in a friendly manner. Letís begin using the power of a friendly welcome.
A friendly atmosphere
It is important to understand that producing a friendly church does not rest solely in the hands of our ushers and greeters, though they play a key role. Becoming a friendly church means producing an atmosphere of friendliness throughout the church and all of us play a role in this. My prayer is that our church family will collectively embrace the challenge of creating an atmosphere of friendliness in our church; that we will see ourselves as a team...a family...and each one of us will realize the role we play in welcoming guests. Furthermore, that we will realize that the manner in which our guests are received could be a factor in whether or not they return to hear more of Godís word. Letís begin operating as a team in showing friendliness.
Learning to be friendly is something we all can do. The Lord will help us. Remember, Jesus was a friend of sinners. I am eternally grateful that He became a friend to this sinner. We are in good company when we show friendliness to everyone remembering that everyone needs Jesus.