Professor Melody Maxwell has visited a lot of congregations, and she reflects on her “guest” experiences to offer congregations seven actions they can take to be more welcoming to guests. Four of the actions are positive (“do”), and three are negative (“don’t”). The actions include having good and clear signage, no singling out of guests, and empathy for the guest who is the stranger. Maxwell’s experience adds to the explanatory material she offers for each action. Her suggestion to not publicly highlight guests, for example, comes from her sense of how “awkward” that can be for some people. Maxwell also includes positive helps: invitations to lunch and small groups; useful, practical, and current information on an attractive website; and a letter or e-mail as a follow-up activity to a guest’s attendance. All traditions will find this brief and practical article useful for training, as a conversation starter, or as a check-list.
Curated by Janet Hoover