Jesus told us in his Parable of the Prodigal Son the kind of welcome people receive who come to the Father. So we "kill the fatted calf" and hold a celebration and welcome dinner for every new member.
When someone comes forward to be received into our church, we automatically schedule a celebration dinner the following Wednesday. All other Wednesday night programs are cancelled. If the new member failed to show up for the dinner (which has never happened), we would still celebrate this new life in our church family.
At the dinner we use china and glass, no paper plates. When the guests of honor, the new members arrive, they find a special seating area for them and their family. On the table in front of their plates are cards and letters from all of our members, welcoming them to our church. There's also a leather-bound Bible, with name engraved, for each new member.
Just before the blessing, the new members are invited to stand. We then have a short responsive reading honoring ...1