When you came to PVUMC, what brought you back after that first time? Was it the people here? Perhaps it was the worship experience itself? Maybe there was ministry happening on our campus that attracted you and made you want to know more about it? I have heard numerous tragic stories over the years from people who visited church and found no one spoke to them. They were ignored, treated as if they were not even there. It’s easiest for us to gravitate towards friends, those we know and want to catch up with after worship. When newcomers visit and find that no one talks to them or introduces them to others they are not going to return. They will conclude this is a church just interested in itself, not in welcoming anyone new.
How do we truly connect with people? We never really know what is going on in the heart of someone we are just meeting. Life may be good, but there may also be stress, pain or large unanswered questions about faith. I think we always need to find out something about our newcomers. Maybe we ask them, “What are you looking for in a church home?” (We just might have a good answer as to how PV can be their church home). As we talk about our hospitality as a church I am asking you to think back on your first Sundays at our church. What was important to you then? Did our congregation try to meet you where you were? I want you to remember when you were new to PVUMC so you can better respond to our visitors with the same grace and concern which you experienced back then, whether it was last month, last year or many years ago. Something made you come back, and we’re happy you did. Sunday, we worship the God who welcomes our return, our coming back to meet and know the God of grace.