Tracy Talks XIII

When I was searching for a church to call home in my 20s, I visited many churches. I
remember a few of them particularly. One was a church focused on young adults. The
preacher was great. However, no one greeted me when I visited. There was a welcome table
that I had to go to be welcomed and get more information about the church and service. No
one invited me into conversation with their group or invited me to sit with them.
Another church I attended also had no welcoming person. I was handed a bulletin and I went
to sit by myself. The pastor greeted me and gave me an opportunity for participating in
ministry well before service started. The pastor was the only one to talk to me that morning.
I think I told you the story of visiting the church that I eventually called home. Wally Franz
greeted me at the front door of High St. Christian Church. He handed me a bulletin. He
walked me to the worship space and introduced me to Char and her family. Char invited me to
sit with them and they explained the service to me so that I knew what to do and when to do it.
Had it not been for Wally and Char, I probably would have went searching again.
I often wonder how visitors feel when they visit our church. I wonder if they feel as welcomed
as I did at High St. I wonder who our Wally and Char are. I wonder if the experience of a
complete stranger is different than a friend who visits or someone who has come back to
church after a long time away. Without a Wally and Char, our visitors may not feel welcome
and may not come back. Just as we welcome guests in our homes, we should welcome
guests to our church.
Welcoming churches have dedicated people to the ministry of hosting guests. Those hosts
know they are not at church to be served, but to serve our guests in a specific capacity. Hosts
greet visitors and introduce them to others. Hosts sit with guests and help them understand
what we do in worship. Like Wally and Char, hosts can serve in different ways to the same
I understand it can be scary to introduce yourself to someone new. I believe being a host at
the church is a spiritual gifting and calling. While we may expect this hosting ministry to be

done by our leadership, not all Elders and Deacons have that gift so it can be done by others
in the congregation. Hosting may be your opportunity to serve if you haven’t yet found your

Do you feel called to host our guests like Wally and Char?

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)