What Are the Needs of a Newcomer?
In the early church, we see that Christians were concerned with supplying each other’s needs (Acts 2:44-45, 4:34-35). Paul reminded the church at Rome of their obligation to care for “the needs of the saints” (Rom. 12:13). Elsewhere, we are reminded of specific needs like monetary support (2 Cor. 9:12), the need for teachers (Heb. 5:12), and encouragement (Acts 11:22-24). With these things in mind, I would like to think about some of the needs of newcomers to the church, from their perspective.
I need you to notice me. I want to feel like my visit matters to you. I don’t want to feel invisible.
I need to see you smile. You are my first impression of the church, and something as simple as a smile goes a long way in making me feel welcome.
I need you to speak to me. Make an effort before and after service to introduce yourself and to get to know me. I don’t mind if you ask me where I’m from or other questions to get to know me.
I need you to help me. Offer to show me where the nursery is if you see I have small children. Help me find where my child’s classroom will be and share with me my adult class options.
I need you to tell me positive things. I want to hear good things about the church, your elders, your deacons, your ministers, and various ministries you have. I want to be at a place where people are loving, encouraging. and united.
I need you to invite me. I want to be asked to be part of your church activities or small groups. I need to feel like you need me here as part of the family. I want to have a personal invitation to come back again.
I need you to remember me. The second visit is more important than the first, because the truth is, I’m still on the fence about coming here and making this my church home. I’ll really be impressed if you remember my name.
If we’re doing what we should be, there will be the opportunity each time we meet to make a first impression. While there are various needs in the church, let us be mindful not to neglect the needs of the newcomer.
“And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).
Pulaski Street church of Christ
BULLETIN DIGEST (April 2012)