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From the January / February 2010 issue  X, Y and the church: they will come

Get the guest room ready!

Soon after overnight guests leave our home, I change the sheets on the guest bed. That way we are always prepared to welcome anyone who might need a bed for a night. We want to get ready before someone calls and asks if they may visit. We aren't scurrying if icy roads turn dinner guests into overnight guests. We hope guests are reassured that their stay is not inconveniencing us. We expect someone to come and use that bed.

So, how is it with your congregation and "new people?" What do your members experience when newcomers arrive:

  • Surprise, maybe shock, perhaps suspicion that someone "new" is in their midst.
  • Waiting fulfilled as they had hoped some of the new people in your community would visit the church. They welcome visitors with smiles and handshakes.
  • Expectations met that "yes," new people will accept the invitation to join in the church's outreach ministry in the community; "yes," new people will be coming to worship. They welcome guests with hospitable actions and conversation that say immediately that the church cares about them and their needs.

Does your congregation make a place for visitors who drop by or has it created "space" into which invited, expected guests are welcomed?

This issue of Interpreter focuses on young adults, giving special attention to those who are part of United Methodist congregations. Their entry points were different. The worship styles that feed them spiritually are different. What is alike is that all are both serving and served through relationships within the congregation.

The Rev. Larry Hollon, Interpreter's publisher, challenges the church to make the changes required to appeal to generations that have a different understanding of the world. It is in the first of the "Last Thoughts" columns he will be writing for Interpreter. Read it on Page 46.

Providing an overview of Generations X and Y, beginning on Page 12, is Joey Butler. After 10 years on the Interpreter staff, Joey has become "editor of content for 18-34-year-olds" at United Methodist Communications. Missed greatly, he will be invaluable in connecting a "graying church" and young adults.

When young adults come to the church where you worship, what will they experience? Will they see authentic relationships that reach up to God and outward to each other and the world? Will they know space has already been created in expectation of their arrival?

Get the guest room ready!
Kathy Noble, Editor

Interpreter Magazine
Jan-Feb 2010

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