Welcoming newcomers: it’s a culture, not a checklist

Think about the moment you first felt welcomed in our church family. Was it a friendly conversation across a pew? Was it when you were invited out for lunch with new friends? Or maybe it was gradual feeling that built up over time as you got more involved at Knox.

Our community has been focusing more on fostering these connections and helping people move from being just observers to full participants in the life of the church. We’re not focusing on this to grow our numbers or impress other people but because God calls us to love one another.

Last year the Welcoming Newcomers Team met to discern what God wanted us to focus on in this area. Over the course of several months we uncovered these priorities:

  1. Mobilizing all Knoxites to be more welcoming
  2. Bolstering the greeting ministry
  3. Standardizing follow-up processes
  4. Improving welcome materials
  5. Renewing welcome spaces
  6. Improving the after-service experience
  7. Improving signage (indoor and outdoor)

You’ll notice that some of these are nuts-and-bolts, but the first one is the broadest and most important. We have our eyes on this larger culture change so that more people feel God’s love through strong connections in this church family.

This fall a smaller group has is focusing on priorities one to three, so look out for changes in your midst. Greeters will be trying new ways of connecting, the digital flow for newcomer questions will be streamlined, and services will hear about the “three-minute rule” to talk to someone new.

We’d invite you to have your hearts open to God’s invitation in this welcoming work. This isn’t going to happen with three bullet points and a two-week time frame. God wants you to welcome too. What is he calling you to do in this season?

Members of the Welcoming Newcomers Team: Dan Andrews, Ali Derksen, Emily Fuller, Chris Mudiappahpillai, Alena Parkinson, Jordan and Rachel Pipher, Don and Mary Jane Scott, Alvin Sim, and Greg Summers. Knox staff supporting: Peter de Koning and Phil Reinders

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