The next thing we found strange was the way we were treated after the service…
In one service, as soon as the service was over, all the regulars went straight to the coffee bar for “fellowship.” Everyone had been invited (from the pulpit) to get a cup of coffee and get to know others.
This was the same church that ignored us as we were trying to find the Children’s Church. We thought maybe they could redeem themselves after the rough introduction we got from their church.
As we made our way to the coffee bar (after picking up our kids), we noticed it was pretty full of people. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get to know some of the people. Boy, were we in for a rude awakening!
The people formed a semi-circle around the coffee bar area. There would have been room for us to get through if someone had moved over to one side a bit. But no… that would have inconvenienced someone. And they were busy “fellowshipping.” We just stood there for about 30 secs, holding our kids’ hands, staring at the coffee bar from a distance, hoping someone would get the hint. No such luck.
We finally just left, deciding to never give them a second chance. Even my kids noticed how “unwelcomed” we were. I have mentioned a church’s BRAND before – what people are saying about the church, both insiders and outsiders. This church’s brand seemed to be “we take care of our own!” This is great if you’re part of the inner circle. Outsiders are just out of luck!
My point is this… the few minutes immediately after a service give us a PRIME OPPORTUNITY to welcome and connect with visitors. If we’ll capitalize on this, we can reap rich benefits! We have to both teach and model the value of visitors in our churches. Many churches work very hard to get visitors, it seems stupid to devalue them once they actually come!