Mary and her two children were new to the church. They arrived on Sunday morning with a bit of anxiety as they surveyed the lay of the land to determine if they should head left or right. She glanced across the entry area to catch a glimpse of a sign that would give them some direction.
Her ‘almost anxious’ spirit was quickly identified by a member of our hospitality team. They approached her with a smile, and extended hand, and a word of welcome.
“Can I help you find something?”
“We are here for the mass but I am not sure which way to go.”
“Right this way. My name is Rob, what’s your name?”
“I’m Mary and this is Jack and Sarah.”
“Come with me and I will show you the way to the sanctuary. Would you like to find a Sunday School room for the kids?”
“Is it OK if they stay with me?”
“Sure, love to have kids in worship. We also have groups for every age level if that works for you and for them.”
“I think we will just stay together for the mass. Is there a charge to enroll them in Sunday School?”
“No there is no charge for Sunday School. I would be happy to introduce you to a member of our Children’s Ministry team. Here is a brochure that tells you a bit about our ministry for children. Let’s stop here at the Welcome Desk to get you some additional material and a welcome gift. (to the welcome desk) Irene, this is Mary, Jack, and Sarah. This is their first time with us.”
“Good to meet you Mary, my name is Irene. I know that you are in good hands with Rob. He will show you the way and help you get settled for the service. We are so glad you are here.”
Rob proceeded to introduce Mary to one of the ushers and helped her find a place in the sanctuary. He was careful to suggest a place that had easy access and took care not to bring her to the front row. The anxious look in her eye was a bit more relaxed but her first five minutes of church were much more positive than she had anticipated or expected.
What do you know about Mary just from reading the brief interaction above? Jot down a few insights you might have about Mary and her family.
Did you know that most people who visit the church for the first time arrive with a certain set of expectations and anxieties? Some come because they are new in the area and are actively looking for a church home. Others come because there is a particular need in their lives. For most, there has been some kind of change point that has come into their lives. That change has motivated them to shift their regular Sunday morning patterns. Perhaps the change is a housing move that bring them fresh into the area. Or it may be a change of family situation. Things like marital issues, a new employment setting, or the start of a new school year make a difference. For most, there is some change point or reason they chose to join us for that ‘first Sunday’ experience.
For many, the first Sunday journey will be marked by a desire to start something new. Perhaps they have a history (however strong) in another denomination or a different type of congregation. The desire for a fresh start is often the primary reason people seek a new congregational connection. Our task is to connect in a way that allows our lives to be a blessing to them.
So here we are at the start of a new school year. It is the number one time when people begin to think about a fresh start and new beginnings. Our hospitality team is ready! Are you geared up to meet Mary?