by TJ Sellers
Do you remember the first time you walked through the doors of a church? Did it feel awkward? Did you know anybody? Did you feel welcomed?
Many people at Lake Baldwin Church (including myself) would say that the hospitality, warmth and friendship that our church body demonstrates to first time visitors is a key reason they came back for a second visit. This generates a positive buzz within our congregation about having a welcoming environment, and can leave us thinking that we have that box checked. However, the reality is we probably never hear the negative feedback from the people who slip through the cracks and never experience the connectedness that many of us cherish.
There is no doubt that LBC already has a welcoming environment that most people experience, but as the Lord continues to add to our number, maintaining this culture becomes increasingly challenging.
As we anticipate an even greater number of new faces visiting LBC in 2018, we are trusting God to grow our capacity to help each person connect into healthy relationships that will help them thrive spiritually.
To do this, we will be building on the already well-established assimilation plan that includes elements such as Sunday worship, welcome lunches, membership classes, community groups, and service. We believe that each of these are key steps to helping individuals become fully connected into the LBC community.
In 2018, a new Connect Team will form to focus on helping new attendees (and long-time attendees who are on the fringes) assimilate into the life of the church. The formal team will be small, but impact will be widespread as we aim to mobilize our entire congregation to participate in helping those around you connect into community, discipleship and service. The team will be responsible for refining and communicating the assimilation strategy to the congregation, managing our existing greeting team, expanding our “welcome” efforts to after the service, and developing a plan for following up with our guests.
Despite the growth of our staff team in 2017, the increase in attendance at LBC is outpacing the ability of our staff to follow-up with all new attendees. Similar to broad-based giving, we want our entire congregation to participate in our effort to help newcomers flourish at LBC.
What part could you play?
Often times, welcoming someone is as simple as extending an invitation to lunch after church, your next community group meeting or just introducing them to another member at LBC. When it comes to assimilation, many hands make light work.
Do you have a heart for helping people feel welcomed and find their place at LBC? Contact TJ Sellers for information about the new Connect Team.