Welcome to the Fall!
Well, OK, so the weather has not quite got the memo yet, the humidity is hanging on, but we are beyond Labor day and I am so excited about our Fall programming at Redeemer. There are details of this in the newsletter, on the Website and there are even postcards and flyers in the Church - and you all know how I struggle with paper!
Please, please take time to look at our offerings. Something might jump out at you which you will enjoy. Even better, something might jump out at you which someone you know will enjoy and you could bring them along to. Everything is open to everyone. Even things like the Chilli cook off, which happen after Church, are not limited to people who have attended worship.
Speaking of inviting people. I have been trying to figure out how we can be more welcoming at Redeemer. We have some people who are so naturally talented at this, for others it can seem like a daunting task to speak to a newcomer. Honestly, when I am not “Rectoring” I am much more of a shrinking violet. Here are a few tricks I have learned.
If I ask if someone is new they might not be. So don’t ask if anyone is new. Simply say, “I don’t think I have met you before”. This usually opens up the conversation - in fact, most people will immediately say, “I have never been before” or something along those lines.
I don’t know what to say. Simply say your name. You can ask really simple questions like, “Do you live in Shelby?”, “What do you do?” Very ordinary. Just be you, you don’t need to say anything clever or profound.
They might ask me things I don’t know. Sooner or later, yes. If it is something you have thought about you can always say that it puzzles you or you don’t really know but say where you are with it. This can be scary, so simply introduce them to a member of the clergy.
Invite them to coffee or formation. If you are not going to either of these, pair them up with someone who is. They might say no, that is fine. It is not you. They just wanted to dip a toe or they have other things to do. Sometimes we are just not the right Church fit - don’t worry about it.
This Fall let’s have a welcoming mindset. Let’s be a Church which is open and growing. A Church which is outward looking and paying attention to those we know already and those we have yet to meet. This takes everyone because sooner or later you are going to be the person between the door and someone who is leaving without an invitation to stay. Please, in that moment, make it your mission to introduce yourself. Sooner or later you will be walking towards a friend straight past someone you don’t know. Make the newcomer the priority. Each of us has to assume that we are the one person who can make a difference and not leave it only to the people who are “good at that sort of thing”.
From the bottom of my heart I know that you are all wonderful people and I want visitors to have a chance to get to know us and to come to a closer relationship with God through our life-giving ministries. Please help with that however you can and I look forward to seeing you all as we regather.
On another note, I am always open to invitations to coffee or meals. I find it very difficult to “cold call” both because of my personality (introvert) and my culture (British). Please, please call me and I will come over or we can go out for lunch. My number is 704 750 0950. Please don't wait until you "need" me. I did not have the chance to get to know everyone before COVID hit. Although I have been here a while, it has been a very strange while, and I have some catching up to do in terms of making sure I get to sit down with each of you.