June is now behind us and July has arrived.  July is the month where we as Americans celebrate our freedom that was established in 1776.  Many will take that day and celebrate with friends and family picnics. Then finish off the day watching firework displays.  Many may also be on vacation during that week.  Some may even vacation in our area, and decide to attend our church for worship while in town.  It is always a joy to see visitors sitting in the congregation.

Did you know that over the past couple of months we have had several visitors?  They did not all come on one Sunday.  But they all came.  Some even worshiped with us more than one Sunday.

How many of them did you personally greet on those Sundays.  Should any of them visit our worship service in July, as some of them will, could you call them by name?

The primary goal as a church is to introduce people to Jesus Christ. I want to ask you to help me do that by welcoming as many guests as possible. Many outreach studies have shown that people who are warmly welcomed are much more likely to return to a church than those who are ignored by the members. I would not expect you to call all of our visitors by name. But I think you could make a point of learning the names of two types of people:

  1. Those who sit near you in the sanctuary, and
  2. Those who have something in common with you

We humans are creatures of habit. Many visitors find a place to sit in the sanctuary, and when they return to worship one or more weeks later, they try to sit near the same spot. I’m asking you to introduce yourself and ask the names of anyone who sits within a couple of pews of you and commit their names to memory. If your memory is like mine and your memory is less than photographic, write their names down on a piece of paper you carry in your personal Bible. Or write their names down in your smart phone. Then the next Sunday, you see them, make a point of calling them by name and reminding them of your name. It will make a big difference!

Sometimes you meet a guest on the way in or out of worship, even though they did not sit near you. Perhaps they have children the same age as your children or as your grandchildren. Or perhaps one of them is wearing a logo of your favorite sports team, or your favorite team’s biggest rival. Perhaps they are wearing an outfit you find attractive. Be sure to introduce yourself, ask their names and make note of what you have in common. Then, the next Sunday you see them, call them by name and remind them of your name and what you have in common.

With every member of our church intentionally getting to know a few of our worship guests, we can collectively help all our worship guests find a church home that draws them closer to Jesus.

Yours in the name of Christ,

Rev. John Carey