“For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Acts 2: 38-39.
As a welcoming church, St. Andrew’s strives to practice, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” to everyone, as The United Methodist Church and other mainline denominations continue to lose members at a staggering rate. Pastor Dave regularly reminds us that the situation is serious. According to the Pew Research Center, (Sept., 2013) roughly 29% of U.S. adults say they seldom or never attend worship services. They cite busyness, practical difficulties, and a feeling that attending worship services is just not important. Yet, research also shows that more than 40% would come to church if invited by a friend.
To this end, The Welcoming/Membership Ministry Team is designating Sunday, May 18, as “Bring a Friend Sunday,” something you had done in the past. The following are some suggestions that may help your guest feel comfortable at St. Andrew’s UMC:
Extend the invitation, and, if you aren’t arriving together, greet your friend at the door, and, of course, sit with her/him. Referring to the bulletin, show your friend what our service looks like ahead of time, explaining any rituals that he/she may not be familiar with. Explain our procedure for celebrating the Holy Eucharist, and note that it is open to all. Introduce your guest to those sitting near you and to Pastor Dave. After the service, invite your guest to the Fellowship Hall for refreshments. If your guest is interested, take her/him on a little tour of our church.
“…Lest the church neglect its mission, and the gospel go unheard, help us witness to your purpose with renewed integrity. With the Spirit’s gifts empower us for the work of ministry.” (UMH #584)
Rev. Andrea Titcomb