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Assimilating Newcomers

An atmosphere of warmth and acceptance is expressed most effectively by people who hold no official position, That's because the most gratifying welcome a visitor can receive is from someone he wouldn't expect to welcome him, in a place he didn't expect it to happen.
—Calvin Ratz

Newcomers don't come with the glue already applied. It's up to the congregation to make them stick.

But that's easier said than done. Experience shows that not everyone who attends church once wants to return.

Visitors arrive at a church's doorstep for a variety of reasons. There are disgruntled church hoppers, unsaved people genuinely seeking either spiritual or material help, newcomers to town, recent converts, and spiritual prodigals returning to God. Each comes with a different set of fears and expectations. All must be handled carefully if they are going to come back a second time.

At times, church insiders fail to realize how intimidated newcomers feel when attending church. Insiders, familiar with the traditions, ...

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