Churches that desire to reach the next generation must work hard at letting all know they are welcome to attend any church services or activities regardless of their religious aﬃliation or lack thereof. A church must help the members of the community know they are welcome to attend church services and activities even if they are not yet sure if they believe in God. Churches often unintentionally portray their membership requirements as attendance requirements.While churches will obviously limit who may oﬃcially join the church to those who agree with the church’s doctrine and religious practices, anyone should be welcome to attend a church’s worship services. Even those whom the church considers the worse sinners in the community should be welcomed at church, otherwise how will they ever hear the gospel and be converted. Creating an atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcome in the worship service is important.
There are many ways to make people feel welcome, such as having greeters at the door or having parking spaces reserved for guests. But making people feel welcome often starts before they show up. Something as simple as putting the words, “Everyone welcome regardless of religious affiliation” on every flyer, poster and advertisement the church produces communicates something important to the entire community. Some churches have chosen not to put the name of their denomination in the name of their church. While that is not the right choice in every situation, in some environments, it can be very useful. Each church needs to spend time thinking about how to make outsiders feel welcome. Churches that neglect to consider this issue are probably a lot less welcoming than they think they are. Young adults have little tolerance for churches that appear closed to outsiders, so one key to reaching them it to eliminate that barrier when possible.
Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.