Sunday, August 06, 2006

A funny thing happened while talking with a mannequin...

We had the rare opportunity to visit another church tonight. On the Sunday we have Homecoming, our evening service is always cancelled. So, we visited another church in our area.

While the people were friendly, they weren’t warm and welcoming. All I could think was, “This is definitely not a church I would want to join”. As we left, though, I couldn’t figure out just why the people weren’t warm and welcoming. Sure, they all came up and shook our hands and smiled at us, but not one person introduced themselves. No one even asked our names. We felt like cattle being herded through the masses. “Hi! Nice to have you here!” smile… smile… “Glad you could join us!” smile… smile…I felt like I was looking at a bunch of smiling mannequins.

Though I didn’t have the best visit at this church (and please don’t ask me how the sermon was), I did learn several things about what members of a church, no, what Christians in a church should act like toward visitors.

- When you greet someone, smile. Not a quick smile, but the kind of smile you would make toward a friend. One that shows you are interested in them.
- Make and keep eye contact. LOOK at the person you are talking with. Don’t keep looking around at what all of your church friends are doing.
- Say more than just “Hi, my name is Mrs. U.” Something like “Hi, I don’t believe I’ve had a chance to meet you yet. My name is Mrs. U. What is your name?”
- Then, carry the conversation forward a bit. “Oh, Nancy, it’s very nice to meet you! Do you live in this area? Oh, over in Danville! Why, I drive through there all the time. It’s such a lovely town. How long have y’all lived there?” And let the conversation progress a bit.
- When you end the conversation, say something like “Well, Nancy, it sure was wonderful getting to meet you. I hope you and your family are able to come back next week. I’ll be looking for you. Oh, and I would love to introduce you to some of the ladies in my Sunday School class next week!!!”

Now, this is just a sample of what you could say and, of course, you could say a lot more. But it is A LOT more warm and friendly than I experienced tonight. Tailor a conversation that fits you. Some of us will often become friends with someone right away and, in that case, get their address and send them an encouraging note during the week. Some people are able to speak to new people a whole lot easier than others. Some people are more shy. But we ALL should push ourselves out of our comfort zones and out of the little “cliques” that often form in churches.

Ladies, we call ourselves Christians, followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But are we acting like Him? How would Jesus react/ act toward new people that He was around? Truly, He would be “kind”, but don’t you think He would also be “warm and welcoming”? Let’s all ask the Lord to give us awareness of new people around us at church and that we MAKE the opportunity to reach out to them and welcome them in.


Melissa said...

Very interesting that you mention it. Today at my church we had a few visitors and it's so typical of me to just greet visitors as they are leaving, "Good to see you, I hope to see you again." Meanwhile, the visitors get into their car after church and say, "Who was that?"

How are they suppose to become familiar with my church if I won't even give them my name? Isn't that interesting? All too often I expect everyone else to pick up where I slack. I think, oh, someone else will greet them, like the preacher's wife. But shouldn't I be learning from her example? I think so. Praise the Lord that at my church there are a few sincere people who I can learn from.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Ooh Great post Mrs U! If Christians don't practise good manners then who will? Aren't we meant to love our neighbours?

Susan Godfrey said...

Great points! We've been visiting a lot of churches, trying to find a church for us. So far, the majority of the one's we've visited were like this. It's really sad!

BTW, I got your email and I'll take a look at your template today or tomorrow, it's probably just a typo on my part! LOL!! Wouldn't be the first :)

Tammy said...

What a great post! Thank you for the reminder!

Susan P. said...

This is a very good post, Mrs.U. So very true.

deb said...

Hi Mrs U ~ I popped over to check out your blog. Btw, thanks for visiting our blog and leaving a comment.

Maybe you don't want to say exactly where you're located, but I am wondering if it's anywhere near my hometown of South Boston. When you mentioned Danville in the conversation, I perked up! If I had a quarter for every time I've traveled 58 from South Boston to Danville, I'd definitely be rich indeed! (That's not where I am living now though.)

And I agree with your post about being friendly to visitors. Everyone feels more welcome when approached and made to feel at home. Being on the shyer quiet side though, I do know it is hard for some people to know exactly how to carry on a conversation. Conversation is an art, and I wish I were better at it!

theups said...

Hi Deb!!!
I'm actually in "the South". :) When I was typing out the scenario, the word "Danville" just popped into my head. Mr. U read it and said "Hey, that's a good name! I've never heard of a town called Danville!" HAHAHAA!!! We thought I was pretty safe in just making up a name for a town! LOL!!!

Where are we? Hmmm... If you can put these clues together, let me know...
-The Varsity
-The Masters
-The Lady and Sons
-The mountain of stone

HAHA!! Just a few silly clues. :)

Mrs. U

deb said...

:) it, but too far to pop over for an early morning walk together. :) (Thanks for replying.)

mis said...

This is my first time blogging. But I enjoyed your post. My daughter and I happened to come into contact with a church in our area through Angel Food Ministries. Anyway we had "seen" some of the church members. Not ONE asked if we went to church anywhere or invited us to come to a church meeting there. Then we went and gave out candy to the church children in place of halloween. I just wanted to be nice and my family does not practice halloween. Anyway no one again asked us to a church meeting. The pastor did ask our first names. He also thanked us for being a part of the "trick or trunk" for the church children. The community was invited to join in this also. Actually, I did not want to be thanked - I really wanted to be invited to church! Other than the pastor one lady talked to us - who had grand and great grandchildren. She asked if we were giving my 1 month old grandblessing away. When I mentioned she was my first grandbaby - she inoformed me of her grandchildren (no names exchanged)- then simply walked away without me being able to say anything more. Sorry this is so long and yes I am ranting - because in the 11 years that we have lived in this state (same area) we have yet to feel welcomed at a church - therefore we attend no church here. We go to our old church in a different state (4 hours away) on the rare occasions that we are able finacial and time wise. Sorry for the length of this again...Love and Peace...mis

Melissa said...

Hello, I stumbled across this article from the Ladies Against Feminism website and I can really relate to it. You see one of my new years resolutions is to make those around me that I don't know feel welcome, which is sadly not natural for me. Anyways, I have been doing a little better lately and it is my prayer that God will fill me with a passion to make everyone around me feel welcomed, accepted, and loved! Thanks so much for your words. You have given me a renewed desire for welcoming others. I am new to the blogging world by the way. My name is Melissa and my blog is entitled, "The Strength of My Heart." Thanks so much and I hope that you have a wonderful day!


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