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"When we don't teach our children to sing, they grow up to be moms and dads who don't sing. In 20 years we have a church full of people who don't sing. Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship, issues a compelling call to church leaders to rethink the importance of children's and youth music programs..." (Read more)
A Word from the Pastor - March 2015
Last month I shared with you a survey done by Dr. Thom S. Rainer where he noted ten reasons why people chose not to return to a particular church. This month I want to focus a little more on the number one reason, “Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service.”
Many of the people who responded to the survey really do not like the stand and greet time. The following are some of the comments shared with Dr. Rainer:
“The meet and greet or the sign of peace or whatever your denomination may call it, it's all the same – a personal, psycho-contrived exercise that is not only too MUCH, but too SOON.”
“As a shy introvert, a stand up meet and greet sounds terrifying. Please let me attend the service without having to do this. I can meet people afterwards if I'd like.”
“As a visitor to a new church, I can't honestly say I've NEVER enjoyed, or seen the point, in a meet and great period. First of all, I'm an introvert and having a bunch of strangers come up to me all at once expecting to shake my hand and get my name and ask whether I've been there before and so on doesn't feel friendly and inviting, it feels forced and uncomfortable and overwhelming.”
“This is actually the reason my wife and I left a church and didn't come back. I have crazy allergies certain times of the year, and I adjust by sitting in the back so if I have a crazy sneezing fit or something I can duck out quietly, use the restroom, and make my way back in without disturbing other people in the service. Well I did that at a new church, and they didn't want to let me back in. I would've just walked out, except my wife was still in the service.”
“Sometimes I've been late on purpose to avoid the forced friendliness and physical contact with strangers – especially during cold and flu season.”
“Ditch greet time; just get on with the service.”
“It's not that I don't want to participate in a meaningless, obligatory greeting; it's just that I don't want to participate in a meaningless and obligatory greeting.”
“As an introverted first time guest, this moment can be extremely stressful–even if everyone you meet is very friendly and sincere.”
“Many times we have stood in a church, where it is obvious that we are the only visitors present, and had no one greet us. It is a bit like crashing a family reunion at that point.”
“I'm nowhere near an introvert but the most awkward part of the service for me is the greet your neighbors... one church we attended had a 5 good minutes of meeting those sitting around you... our family who was very new to the church called it 5 awkward minutes. I just don't understand how shaking a strangers hand makes for community?! Honestly I'd rather not!”
“To this day I continue to dread the mid-service 'stand up and greet the person next to you' time. I'm guessing extroverts and old-timers just don't get how unhelpful of a practice it is.”
“I've gotten up and walked out of churches that do the 'let's meet the visitors' thing.”
“I am not one to feel comfortable in the spotlight and literally everyone in the congregation smelled new blood and cornered me before I could make an exit.”
I know for some of you this is an important time, and it may hurt to hear such comments, but I have been pastor of enough churches and talked to enough visitors to know it is true. The more effective way to make people feel at home is to greet them without being prompted. When you see someone you do not know, go over to them and introduce yourself to them. Ask them if they are a member here. Ask them if they are a guest. Invite them to go to Bible study with you. When you get to your Sunday School class, introduce them to the class. If we are going to grow as a church, we need to move outside of our comfort zone and outside of our circle of friends to make them feel welcome. It may be awkward and uncomfortable at first, but you will get better at it the more you do it.
Music & Children Notes
Dear brothers and sisters,
This month is short and sweet:
That's all I have for now. Be in prayer about how you can be available to serve with us in any of these areas—children, music/worship class, choir, etc.