Almost every week, first time visitors cross our threshold at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett. Many come in search mode, looking for something that they may not have found elsewhere. Some arrive with serious baggage that they may have picked up in their earlier religious affiliations. For some, this might be the first time in years that they have crossed the threshold of a church.
These searchers are consistently acknowledged with our Words of Welcome. We know that we are sincere with these words spoken in our service. My question is, do we always walk the walk? Do we do a good job of welcoming new people – Yes! Can we improve – Yes!
We all have our comfort zones and our friends with whom we are connected by time and shared experiences. Considering our wide geography, Sunday morning might be our only time to visit and share with our long time friends. We also know how difficult it is for many to cross the threshold into a new experience for the first time. When we do have first time visitors with us, we should acknowledge their courage in taking at step into a new and unfamiliar environment.
By taking the time to gently reach out to one another, both friends whom we know and those with whom we haven’t become acquainted, we can find connections to make this loving community a home for more searchers. My best friend is very good at establishing these connections.
We all can reach out and connect with our visitors if we are willing to take a step or two out of our comfort zones and put ourselves at a bit of risk of rejection. We all have the ability to help others who cross our threshold to make the decision “I Should Stay”.