How does a congregation best say “We are so glad you are here; please, come again”? Here church leader and retired pastor Joe McKeever identifies ten negative messages that congregations unknowingly send to guests and visitors. McKeever’s observations are important for making guests and visitors feel welcome, and he admits his surprise at what is too often overlooked: locked doors, no guest follow-up, and “insider” announcements and language in sermons. McKeever also offers hints for countering these negative messages, such as guest luncheons, using full names from the pulpit, and an examination of printed materials. All congregations can glean something from McKeever’s brief article. His work can be used as a conversation starter for leaders and congregations who see guests walk in once and never return; in a training event for ushers, greeters, and hospitality teams or committees; and as material for sermons on hospitality and welcoming the stranger.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover