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Membership News from Steve

I’m writing to share with you some of the work our Membership Team has been doing to welcome visitors and engage new members in the communities that make up First Church.  Membership Team members join our Journey to Membership classes to connect with new members, and staff the Visitor’s and Member Services’ tables for every coffee hour. Our Engagement Sub-team makes phone calls every week to each new visitor who leaves a card to welcome them personally. Our Welcome Sub-team has been discussing ways to make one’s first few visits to First Church as easy and welcoming as possible, and we could use your help!

Welcoming new visitors is about more than a Visitor’s Table or a nametag. It’s a community-wide effort to widen the circle, to create the space for more people to find a spiritual home in this congregation.

When you see someone that you don’t recognize, I encourage you to say something like, “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met; my name is….”  I try to avoid phrases like, “You must be new here,” which could convey the message that we are a club and the visitor isn’t in it. I also like to start conversations with people about the worship service itself, such as, “What did you think of the service this morning?” This starts a conversation that helps the visitor reflect on what impacted them in our worship, and lets them drive the conversation about what they want to share.

It’s often hard during those first few Sundays that you visit a new church. You probably made a bee-line to the coffee, and then maybe you stared at the artwork on the walls?  We’re not all extroverts, and many of us find coffee hour chat to be anxiety-producing. Hence, these small, welcoming, relational conversations are often the difference between a visitor feeling seen or invisible.

As I’m learning in my seminary studies, everything we do in church is about relationships. I’m so glad that someone connected with you when you first visited here, and I hope you will join our Membership Team in fostering welcoming encounters with new visitors. You’ll be helping to grow the community that supports your values in the world.  But there’s also a good chance you’ll make a lifelong friend!

With gratitude,
Steve Sieck, Ministerial Intern

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