Fall is the perfect time for the Church to welcome back parishioners otherwise occupied during the summer months. It is the time to expect visitors and newcomers to give your church a try. Likewise, it is also one of the most effective times to invite your unchurched friends and family to church (the other two being Christmas and Lent). That means summertime is the perfect time to get ready to make that invitation. And you could say it comes down to “making room.”
To make a difference in someone else’s life we have to make room for them in our lives, specifically in our thoughts and prayers. This is a matter of actively and consistently staying on the lookout for unchurched friends and family who might just be open to an invitation to church, as well as staying alert to the opportunities to actually do so. This might require making space in our schedule to be investing in them relationally. But, it is also about prayer for them, making space for them in our daily prayer.
Can your church campus and facility accommodate growth, should it come your way? Is there ample parking, and if not, could you park off campus to make room for guests on the lot. Are there available seats in the locations newcomers prefer (towards the back, on the aisles)? If not, could you give up your regular seat? What about children? Is there a nursery space or a “cry” room, or anywhere that parents can take children, especially when they are disruptive or distressed? Making this kind of space available goes a long way to telling visitors that they’re welcome.
None of this will make a difference however, if we don’t make room in our attitude when it comes to flexibility and hospitality. Taking time and making the effort to welcome and engage the newcomer (it’s often obvious who they are), understanding that they don’t know our procedures and prayers, anticipating that they perhaps don’t know where to go or what to do.
It basically all comes down to making room to make church not all about us and definitely about newcomers who are potential disciples.