In the delicate dance of social interactions, most of us intuitively know the subtle difference between being “welcomed” and being “invited.” Imagine that you show up at someone’s house for a dinner party, bottle of wine in hand. The host greets you at the door with a big smile and invitation to come inside. Everyone […]
This survey was, in part, created and adapted from ideas presented in “Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors” by Jonathan Malm, and from conversations with Brian Zehr, Consultant with Intentional Impact. Download the Is My Church Welcoming? survey in PDF format.
Most of the so-called welcoming churches value diversity and are quick to announce their openness to people of different backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, and socio-economic status. To that list my congregation intentionally adds an openness to those questioning and struggling with organized religion. The identities of individual worshippers are less fixed than […]
“All are welcome” is a common sentiment expressed by congregations. Some display rainbow flags or signage as a sign of welcome to members of the LGBTQ community; or, the Reconciling in Christ cross may communicate welcome to Lutherans familiar with the symbol and the congregational process it represents. Asked to reflect on how we welcome […]
When I was growing up in the 1950s I had the impression that everyone in the congregation attended worship. Admittedly, my frame of reference is limited to what I knew my friends did in their churches or synagogues in urban Buffalo, NY. There were a few who went to Sunday School, but not worship. But […]
How do we let people say “No”? In tandem with many churches, Lutheran and otherwise, my own parish has moved toward a wider, more explicit, and less qualified invitation to Holy Communion. This development has been more pragmatic than principled, at least as far as my own role is concerned. I am generally persuaded by […]