I Was a Stranger
Visiting a church on Sunday morning where we are “strangers” isn’t something which we relish doing. We don’t know anybody, and we’re unfamiliar with the surroundings. To some extent we don’t know what to expect. It’s a strange feeling which I’m sure you’ve experienced.
But for various reasons (and there’s always a reason), people choose to “visit” a church where they are strangers. Jesus teaches us about care for the stranger. “...I was a stranger and you welcomed me” or “you invited me in.” When you were a “stranger” somewhere, what things were done for you which relieved your anxieties and helped you feel welcome? Did you ever visit anywhere that you didn’t really feel welcome? Let’s consider some things which we should do to truly help visitors feel welcome in our midst.
> Greet visitors with a smile. This should be done not just by the “greeters” at the door or the preacher or the elders. Everybody should be keenly interested in greeting visitors.
> Help them find a seat; even invite them to sit with you!
> Learn their names. Take an interest in them and why they came our way. They have come to be with us for a reason.
> As necessary, tell them the location of the classrooms, restrooms and the lift.
> Ask if they are familiar at all with our worship. Explain what will be happening. Answer their questions.
> Tell them about the Bibles, the DVDs and literature which are available if they have an interest.
> Encourage them to be sure and get a bulletin which will contain the information about our media outreach.
In short, we should do whatever we can to welcome visitors and help them feel at home. Our aim should be that when they leave they would not feel they were strangers any more and would feel very comfortable in returning.