How do you turn a visitor into a regular--especially in a church where visitors can easily exit unnoticed?

The Wenatchee (Washington) Free Methodist Church holds a Newcomer's Coffee. The class, designed to give visitors a one-hour introduction to the church, is held during the Sunday school hour in a room just off the foyer.

It creates a warm climate for new people to see a short media presentation, tour the facilities, and ask honest questions about anything from youth programs to church doctrine.

The number of newcomers who attend each week varies: one to three families. Some Sundays nobody shows up.

These people hear about the class from a variety of sources: the worship announcements, the church bulletin, other church members.

Each Sunday my husband and I, wearing name tags, greet the guests, exchange names, and offer coffee, juice, and homemade cookies or quick breads. We try to put the newcomers at ease by asking non-threatening questions: Are you new to this area? How did you learn about ...

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