With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #41.
Aside from the usher, we had limited significant contact with the people at this church. (Shaking hands and saying “welcome” is not a significant contact; it’s a trivial one.)
The one woman we connect with is not a member of this church and usually attends another one, but she does go here from time to time. This is not the first instance when our prime connection at a church is through a nonmember or another visitor. Too often, visitors are ignored by most church members. They are either unaware of those who are visiting or assume someone else will make the effort.
While it’s correct to note that visitors know fewer people and therefore have more incentive to reach out, the sad opposite is that members know more people and therefore have little incentive to reach out to those they don’t know.
Hanging out with our friends is the easy thing to do and the most natural. It’s also the most limiting. If we only spend time with people we know, how will we ever meet more people? If a church truly wants to grow, connecting with visitors is the easiest place to start. Why then do so many churches fail to do this?