From Our Interim Rector: Give Us Five Minutes of Your Time
The Rev. Joye Cantrell
Posted July 22, 2013
Some practical suggestions may help you better understand how you can assist Christ Church in welcoming newcomers. I suggest that persons who consider us their church practice the five-minute rule. Hang around the church for five minutes after the service, either in the sanctuary, narthex or coffee area.
If you see someone you don’t recognize go up and say something like, “Hi I’m _____, I don’t think we have met before.” This won’t offend either a fellow church-goer you have yet to meet or a visitor. Then take the time to get to know the person.
If in those five minutes you don’t find someone new to greet, talk to those you already know or head on to whatever you have to do next. However, if you make a connection, stay and talk as long as it takes to get to know the person. If he or she has questions you can’t answer, introduce them to someone who can. In future weeks check to see if newcomers you have welcomed in the past are around, search them out and catch up on how they are doing.
Remember that you were once a visitor looking to meet others. Reach out to newcomers in love; welcoming them as you wished someone had welcomed you.
We want to neither ignore newcomers, nor mob them with attention. If someone else is already speaking to a new person or family, it is probably best not to jump in. We can also be inhospitable by overwhelming visitors.
Hospitality will fail if it is a gimmick to grow our church, with no genuine concern for others. We take time to welcome the stranger because offering hospitality is part of who we are to be as Christians. In the process we meet some interesting people.