Connecting with Newcomers

Debi Hullinger helps us on staff with Guest Connections. She helps us think through how we welcome and connect people to our church. Anything from how we run our Welcome Centers to equipping a team of folks who relationally engage newcomers. I asked her write a few thoughts.


Often our Chapel Sunday hosts get the opportunity to encourage guests to try an ABF. We get to walk them to an ABF and thus see how excepting, or not, an ABF is toward that guest.

Recently one of our Guest Connections hosts had a terrific experience opening the door to an ABF for a guest to enter.
“I walked a Chapel guest to one of the ABFs and when I opened the door and announced who she was, this ABF was great at welcoming. ‘Good to have you here,’ they said. ‘Please sit here.’ Several in the ABF stood up just as you would do if a guest came into your home. A very warm place to enter.”  This guest wrote us a note the following week,
“I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the ABF class Sunday morning and have never felt so welcome at any church.   I felt the love and acceptance of God at The Chapel, and will definitely return…”

Ca-ching!!! That’s what I’m talking about! A homerun…a slam dunk! This ABF came through! Thank you!

In Guest Relations we talk to people each week who consider our church too big, so we understand how important ABFs/HABFs are to making our large church seem small. We eagerly suggest our communities to them with the hope they will find one they can feel a part with.

Thank you to all the ABFs who have Connecting Partners in place who understand the importance of watching for those coming into your ABF who are new.  A Connecting Partner is simply one who eagerly meets the guest so they feel welcomed. A CP will take the conversation to a level of relationally connecting in some way, introducing them to other members of the ABF and offering to sit with them. It may mean really kicking it up a notch by walking with them to where they need to go, and possibly invite them for coffee the next week.

All this makes a difference and together we can help our guests and newcomers feel the love of Jesus Christ by the way we sincerely welcome them.    –debi


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