Whose Job Is It?

whose job is it

Whose Job Is It?

Reaching Out First, whose job is it?  Should it be church members reaching out to the new member, or the new member reaching to established church members….… whose job is it to reach out first?

Sometimes we ask; why we are losing new members? Could it be, because no one is taking the time to reach out to them, to help find a place for them to fit in within the church body?  I have seen it time and time again; established members are too busy with their own friends, ministries, and lives to bother with the new member.  Let someone else welcome them into the church.  Let someone else invite them out after service.  I’m just too busy with my little own world… that seems to be the mindset of a lot of people, or so it seems to me.

I have heard some people say the new member should to be the one to reach out first. After all, we don’t know them, or what they may be interested in doing. To have a friend they must show themselves friendly first.  They say it is up to the new member to be the first to extend the hand of friendship; that they need to get involved in the church activities on their own.  With this thought, they easily excuse themselves from any obligation towards the new member.  In their mind, they have washed their hands clean.

BUT, some people are hurting too much.  They have been hurt too many times by people in the past and are afraid to reach out. Some people have very low self-worth and think no one would want to talk with them, much less use them in any way for ministry. Maybe they no longer have any strength left to reach out first.  For some, they took a big step in just showing up, and fear holds them back.  The truth is we don’t know which new member will be able to just jump right in, and which ones need a helping hand. We need to be reaching out to all of them.   We need to be the first to reach out.  It must be a conscious effort on our part.

They need more than just the handshake and smile, you give on their first three visits. It seems when one moves from visitor to new member status, the handshakes stop and they are forgotten. After all, new members take up too much time, and well they may not be worth investing our time in, for we don’t know their background or how long they will stay.

Now pulling from my past; I remember once when trying to get back into the church it took all I had to just show up and sit in the pew. Tears ran down my face non-stop as I sat there.  I was lost, alone and now a single mother of three. Life had been hard for my little family.  I had no strength left within me to reach out with; my heart was hurting too much.  I needed and wanted someone to just care, just care a little bit. I longed for just one person, anyone to take me into their world.  I tried week after week to attend this church, but I went unnoticed by those around me.  I was hurting too much to reach out on my own towards anyone.  I needed rescuing from my pain. My small family needed help, we needed a friend.  My heart was too heavy to except what felt like rejection from yet another source, so my little family and I slipped through the cracks, and our pew became empty again.

I don’t blame anyone, but I do want to wake people up to the fact that while YES most new members will just jump right in and show they are friendly and work to become a part of the church body, there are some that are hurting so bad until they need you to reach out to them.  They need help as new members to fit in; to find that yes they can call the church their home, which they too can belong.  They need someone to take the time to invite them out to eat or to drop them a note of encouragement. They need someone willing to take a chance and actually become their friend in the church. Who knows you may become the first real friend they had in a long time, and for some, you may become the first real friend they ever had in their lifetime.

Questions to Ask Ourselves:

Whose job is it to make a new member feel at home in the church?

Do I help make them feel like they belong?

Do I greet visitors with a smile, but ignore the new members since their not in my group?

How many new members did I leave to fend for themselves?

How many new members are now missing from their pews, and did I even notice they were gone?


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