One of the biggest myths in the church: Lack of money prevents a lack of excellence in church communications and hospitality. To be honest, that’s not a reason – it’s an excuse. Budgets do not, and never have, prevented progress in communications nor in how we welcome church visitors.
Why is this important? The stakes are high! A church is a living organism. If one leg is not communicating with the other, walking will be difficult and running impossible. Hospitality is important too, to friends and strangers alike. People who come through our doors aren’t made to be here – they come on their own. If we don’t welcome them into the faith and into our fellowship, there may be nothing else to keep them here initially. We don’t meet folks halfway… we meet them all the way. Guests are expected to do nothing; we invite them into fellowship.
Fact: How often have we heard or said, “I didn’t know about that.” Did we read our newsletter? Bulletin announcements? Our emails? And if we chair or serve as secretary of a committee, did we send our minutes to other church entities? The church office? We are considering printing the minutes of all committee meetings so that we can all be in the know. No church meeting (other than personnel matters) is a “secret” meeting – and if we don’t communicate, as a body we will not function well.
Fact: The church calls us to, as well as depends upon, hospitality. Thom Rainer of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary predicts, based on data, that 50,000 American churches will close by the end of 2010. Worse, further analysis shows that most churches are on “life support” – living off previous generations’ work, money, and energy. 80% of the money presently given to congregations comes from people aged 55 years and older. Some of the best givers are widowed men and women! Anyone that is knowledgeable in finance or actuaries knows that we cannot be sustained on inherited faithfulness or inherited money. We must always be creating a new generation of disciples who are faithful in much.
We have to talk and listen. We have to be knowledgeable about our church. And we have to welcome each person who comes through our doors as a fellow sinner in need of grace, redemption, and forgiveness. We are the disciples of Jesus Christ.