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Sometimes Christian can be mean. They can get so stuck in their world that they do not notice those around them. I have witnessed this at several churches I have been to. It scares me how narrowly focused we can be.
I went to one church from the time I was little until the time I was finished with seventh grade. That church was my home away from home. They were my family, my closet friends, and it was the place I ran to when things got tough. Then we moved because my dad got a new job. I was scared the first time I went to church. The adults that taught my Sunday school class were nice enough, but I found the youth group to be very cliquish. Suddenly I did not want to go to church. It was not a haven; it was not a place I felt comfortably at. I went to church because my parents told me to, because I had to. That was the worst feeling that I have ever had. I hated not feeling welcomed or at home at my church. I would hate to know how many people have walked into my church or youth group feeling that same way, unwelcomed and unwanted. I try to welcome people with a genuine smile. But I fear that sometimes I fail.
My passion for church marketing comes from my own experiences of feeling unwelcomed in a church. I do not think that anyone should have to feel that way. I do not think we are acting like Christ when people come to our church and leave feeling that way. It is my hope to see the church continually to improve on this. No one wants to walk into a church and feel like an outsider with all eyes on them. I know I do not want to.
Unfortunately I have been to several churches for my first time and have felt unwelcomed, and I never wanted to go back. It soured me against the church. I do not want to be the reason that someone leaves a church and never comes back. I want to be that smiling face that makes them feel welcomed and loved. I want them to be able to feel like they belong. I want them to be able to be comfortable, to know where things are, and to not be afraid of returning. I want Christ’s love to fill me and to overflow onto all people, especially those that visit my church. So for all those who feel like outcasts and like they are unwelcomed and unloved at church, let me say that I am sorry. I am sorry that we lose focus on what true love of Christ looks like, and it is my passion to do better.