Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A "Welcome card" can facilitate invitation

Most people who enter a faith community for the first time and stay do so because another lay person invited them. Beverly Bammel, a missioner at St. Francis, College Station, Texas, in the Diocese of Texas, says "This only makes sense. How often do we ask a friend their advice about a movie, a book, a doctor, or any countless number of things? We turn to someone who has first sampled the services or goods, someone with first-hand experience. Often we don’t even need to know this other person very well, and we’ll follow their advice."

She offers a practical tool any church can use to help members invite others to come and worship.

In the narthex of St. Francis, College Station, we keep “Welcoming Cards.” We encourage parishioners to take a dozen or so to keep in their wallets or purses. And when one of those Holy-Spirit moments occur, they can offer an invitation to visit St. Francis. They can tell them of our two primary worship services – Sundays and Wednesdays, and tell them how much they’d like it if they saw them again – at St. Francis! That’s all you need to do. Just invite them and give them a Welcoming Card.

I realize this can be scary. Many of us may not be comfortable in this type of situation. No worries. Just keep your Welcoming Cards stashed away. Don’t try and force yourself to begin passing out Welcoming Cards to everyone you meet. Wait for one of those Holy Spirit moments when your conversation “goes there” and suddenly you have a natural and comfortable opportunity to make the invitation. When that happens, make the invitation and give them a Welcoming Card. It’s that simple.

She notes that Bishop Andrew Doyle keeps cards for churches around his diocese.

Read the rest here.