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I just want us to discuss whether our churches are visitor-friendly or not. Do our visitors feel like coming back or not. How friendly are we as members?, what do we need to do to improve if we are not friendly?. If your church is friendly kindly share with us the proactive measures put in place to motivate others.

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The question needs to be asked ... what kind of visitors are you referring to?

Are they SDA visitors or Non SDAs? Are they Christian or non Christian. Are they from your culture or another culture?

There is a different answer for each of the above.

One suggestion would be to assign a local member to join the visitor through out the services. This person could find out the level of familiarity this person has and address any lack. This person would be able to individually introduce the visitor to the rest of the congregation. They could explain the rituals of the service. They could explore individual needs that the visitors might have and introduce them to people and services of the church that might address them.

Many times the visitor simply doesn't know where to go and what to do. The person assigned to the visitor could relieve this difficulty by guiding them through the maze. For instance .... if the church has the ritual of standing and sitting or kneeling .... the visitor could be told ahead of time that for this part of the service ... people will stand ... or for this part ... we kneel. All of this creates barriers if it is not explained. The more explanations the better.

But of course ... you would have to get to know the visitors at the beginning to know what level of explanations are in order.

However ... the best thing about this idea ... is for the person to be introduced to others. When you meet the people ... you will feel that they are friendly ... because most are friendly ... but not all express that friendliness unless given the opportunity.

I understand that my idea may be pie in the sky. Most who go to church do so for themselves and would not want to give up their chance to enjoy it privately. This idea would be a disruption to those pew sitters. It would require one who is self-less. But it would be a ministry for one committed.
Thank you so much for such guidelines. I mean any person who visits but not a member to that particular church. So it could be Adventist or non Adventist.
So brother, what can we do to make them return?.
I'm going to say, it depends on the church. This past summer I had they opportunity to visit 3 different churches in 3 different states.
In the first state we had been driving all night but we still wanted to attend church. We arrived early and asked a church member if there was a place nearby (rest stop, etc.) where we could freshen up and get dressed for church. One of the elders came out and took us to HIS house and allowed us to shower and dress there. We had never met him before. After church at the potluck we stayed and many people came and spoke to us and asked us what we were doing in the area. It was a very pleasant experience.

At the second church after service there was a potluck and people approached us and invited us to stay and then a nice couple and another church member sat with us and talked to us during the meal. Again a very friendly atmosphere and I felt blessed to worship with them (as I did the first one).

The third church was an entirely different experience. When I entered the church the greeter was very pleasant but throughout the service I felt disconnected to the other members and even though many people knew that I was a visitor (and alone on that occasion) no one invited me to potluck. I was hungry but I felt uncomfortable staying.

In my church we sometimes assign church members (volunteers of course) to visitors during the meals so that they don't feel uncomfortable.
Thank you for sharing wit us. We still want to hear more.
Interesting thread...

At our local church we are (I believe) very welcoming but without being intrusive. One thing that my wife and I have put in place is to have an "open house" every Sabbath. If anyone has too far to travel or perhaps just wants company they are welcome to come back to our place (5-minute walk from church) for lunch and to socialise.

We have been doing this for years and every week have between 12-30 people come for lunch. As we have a small house it sometimes means two or three sittings at the dining table! At least 50% are youth and we have SDA and non-SDA visitors. We have three church sisters who share the burden and provide food and drinks as well. Elderly members are also welcome and are often a particular blessing. We are very conscious when we have non-SDA visitors not to get into church-critical discussions but otherwise we share and discuss spiritual things together until it is time to go back to church for Bible Study and AYS.

There are very few weeks when our family isn't blessed with Sabbath leftovers to eat for the next couple of days (Sunday is the day when family members and friends drop in for a meal at lunchtime) and God has ALWAYS blessed when we have more visitors than we expected. I have seen the sisters prepare for for 15 people and have 30+ turn up. Yet, just as with the loaves and the fishes, we feed everyone and still have food leftover.

When our pastor lived some distance from church we would also be asked to provide for any visiting speaker. All of this has proved to be a blessing for us as a family and, even though I might think that I want a quiet Sabbath my daughter will arrive with 5 or 6 of her friends in tow, extra people will come back from church and we have a blessed time together.

Being friendly to visitors is a blessing both for giver and receiver and I whole-heartedly recommend it.
My brother your story has touched my heart. I will share with others in Ghana. I will visit your church one day lol. God bless you.
That is so nice. I would love to do that but I actually live 45 min. from my church so...

God will truly bless your family!
Isn't it too bad that we judge churches by whether they invited us home for dinner or not? 'nuff sed
Nuff sed ... How would you suggest that we judge our churches or evaluate our churches as being friendly or not since dinner is out of the question?
Good question, thanks.
Nuff, the central idea is not about inviting us to dinner, it one approach they took, which is also good.

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