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DRAWING OUTSIDERS INSIDE

If you visit Willow Creek Community Church, don't be surprised if no one asks your name. You won't be given a name tag, and you won't be asked to stand or raise your hand as a new person. No one will even give you a form to fill out for a follow-up contact.

Don't we care about visitors? Of course we do. Don't we want them to come back? Sure! In fact, it's because we want them to return that we try not to pressure them on their first visit.

Let me explain with a personal example. I grew up in a nondenominational church. When I went away to college, I visited churches of various denominations. I soon learned that my home church was similar to most Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and other denominational churches. Even as a visitor, I knew pretty much what to expect-how I should dress, what information would be in the bulletins, and how to respond to the greeters. I fit right in.

Then a friend invited me to a Catholic mass-a first for me. I felt anxious about attending, and the reasons soon ...

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