But (to modify a When Harry Met Sally Quote) not everyone could possibly BE a welcoming church. If everyone were truly welcoming, church attendance would be much higher than it is today. People wouldn’t just say they belong to a church, but would actually be part of the life of the church. Would you like that? Then read Thom S. Rainer’s book Becoming A Welcoming Church. This should be on your list of “must reads.”
Title: Becoming A Welcoming Church
Author: Thom S. Rainer
Publisher: BH Publishing Group
Nutshell: Challenging churches to look at themselves objectively
Thom addresses the disconnect between how churches perceive themselves and how others perceive them. Often the local church has a distorted view of how great they are, mostly because they’ve stopped looking at themselves objectively. But Thom challenges those perceptions and spells out the real life consequences of ignoring issues of safety, cleanliness, insider language, and other topics we often do unintentionally.
Visitors make judgments about a church long before they ever hear a sermon. Sometimes they make judgments based solely on your website (or lack of one). Today’s consumers (and that’s what church seekers are) start online. The web is the new front door. Greeters, signage, and visual appeal all matter to a first time visitor. It doesn’t matter if we think those matter – they do. And Thom does a great job of illustrating that point with stories from real people and their real experiences with churches.
Becoming A Welcoming Church is a quick and easy read, but one that could change the path of your church from declining to growing. Thom even includes surveys and questionnaires in the back of the book to help you get started. This is a must-read for any ministry in your church!