During this time of the year we have a large number of new residents in our adjoining communities. They are here as new employees, new college students, and returning students, and soon they will be shopping for a church home. One crucial piece of document that will be instructive for these new residents is the Mission and Vision Statements of the churches they will initially visit. Incidentally, one month ago we completed a new Church Brochure, which contains our newly revised Mission and Vision Statements.The Mission Statement describes the reason our church exists and helps guide decisions about our priorities, actions, and responsibilities. 1 Peter 2:9 describes the church as “… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Please join me in disseminating our new church Brochure and verbally spreading information about what we do well as a church family. Let us be willing, excited and passionate about inviting and welcoming newcomers to our church.One critical word of exhortation is that we should endeavor to transcend the traditional mold of churches by reaching out with open arms in ways that capture the admiration of all visitors. The way we welcome visitors say much more about us in either negative or positive ways than we may imagine. Darby Jones “Five types of church visitors: Are you ready for them?” offers us a description of the following three types of churches in our community. Which one do we identify with?
- Stationary churches say, "You are welcome to join us." If visitors fit the existing culture, they become members. If not, they usually leave.
- Medley churches welcome diversity because they know they should. This model looks and sounds beautiful. However, if the church does not welcome the rituals of different ethnicities and nationalities, eventually visitors will look for the exit sign.
- Transformer churches welcome all newcomers along with their unique gifts from God. They like new ideas, advocate for people and aren't afraid to change the culture and their community (Jones, 2015).
- Dissatisfied visitors are looking for a "better church." Either your church has what they are looking for or it doesn't. Their decision about returning will be based on these criteria.
- Invited visitors come at the request of someone they know. They may not be looking for a church, but they may find a reason to return and stay.
- Seekers want something spiritual. They look for real people with genuine smiles. They want authentic answers to their questions.
- Skippers jump from church to church. Some like to meet people or network. Others are transient, moving on when something doesn't suit them. Sometimes their job calls for continual travel.
- Deep-rooted visitors are active in their church and looking for a place to settle in for the long haul. When they move into a community, they are usually ready to serve (Jones, 2015).
Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion