Our Radical Vision: So This IS love!

Well…it is finally here! The biggest most fantastic announcement of our lives as a parish! Yup! It is finally here! Well, almost!

Next Sunday, June 14th, there will be one Mass only, but to entice you to come – not only will there be a HUGE announcement, but there will be a FREE Saint Miriam Café experience with special drinks (yes, both kinds!) and the annual Blessing of the Seersucker and yes, I will don on my finest summer apparel! Really! You don’t want to miss this one!

So I have been thinking…what makes this place so special? Well, lots of things really – but YOU are the main reason! Each of you bring others by your invitations, your kindness, your joy, and your welcome. A radical welcome that makes Saint Miriam refreshing to almost everyone that comes through our doors.

A recent article entitled, Seven Things Church Members Should Say to Guests in a Worship Service, written by Thom Rainer tells of those things that successful churches always do well:

1. “Thank you for being here.”  It’s just that basic. I have heard from numerous church guests who returned because they were simply told “thank you.”

2. “Let me help you with that.”  If you see someone struggling with umbrellas, young children, diaper bags, purses, and other items, a gesture to hold something for them is a huge positive. Of course, this comment is appropriate for member to member as well.

3. “Please take my seat.” I actually heard that comment twice in a church where I was speaking in the Nashville area. The first comment came from a member to a young family of five who were trying to find a place to sit together.

4. “Here is my email address. Please let me know if I can help in any way.” Of course, this comment must be used with discretion, but it can be a hugely positive message to a guest.

5. “Can I show you where you need to go?” Even in smaller churches, guests will not know where to find the nursery, restrooms, and small group meeting areas. You can usually tell when a guest does not know where he or she is to go.

6. “Let me introduce you to ___________.” The return rate of guests is always higher if they meet other people. A church member may have the opportunity to introduce the guest to the pastor, other church staff, and other members of the church.

7. “Would you join us for lunch?” I saved this question for last for two reasons. First, the situation must obviously be appropriate before you offer the invitation. Second, I have seen this approach have the highest guest return rate of any one factor. What if your church members sought to invite different guests 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge!!

The greatest sin in all of sacred scripture is the sin of in-hospitality. We will never be accused of that at Saint Miriam!

See you next Sunday!