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Calming the Sea... the Welcome Ministry
By Ellie Hayes - March 11, 2005

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling, as each one has received a gift minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:8-10

One is a Lonely Number

Let's face it, the size of the Rock can be pretty intimidating
Let's face it, the size of the Rock can be pretty intimidating

Imagine walking into the Rock Church for the first time. Maybe you are a new Christian, a more experienced Christian, or not a Christian at all. Whatever your situation, here you are at the Rock. You are greeted by the upbeat voice of an usher/ greeter as you make your way into the sanctuary. Another usher/greeter spots a seat for you. You mumble "Excuse me," as you make your way through a row of a dozen people. And, there you sit.

The choir sings and you feel the Spirit of the Lord moving throughout the sanctuary. You enjoy Rock TV and you think Pastor Miles is just plain cool the way he preaches The Gospel.

And then, you leave.

You repeat this brave routine for a couple of months, always sitting alone. But you think that's okay because maybe you'll meet someone who will actually talk with you about the service one of these Sundays. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. You begin to feel non-existent in a sea of people.

You watch as other people greet each other with big hugs and warm smiles. You begin to think, "I have never felt more alone than I do at this very minute, in God's house. The ushers and greeters are the only ones who speak to me. Even when Pastor Miles says to turn and say hello to someone, it's just a perfunctory gesture. Not even a second passes before the person has turned away and I'm all alone again."

After this service you get into your car thinking, "Wow, those people are really unfriendly. I thought everyone was welcome in God's house. But, I sure didn't feel welcomed. Maybe I'll find friendlier people at another church."

Worse yet, maybe you're not a Christian and leave with a negative impression thinking, "What a shame. I thought Christian people were nicer than other folks. At least when I go to a bar a few times someone will come along, actually speak to me, and even offer to buy me a drink. Maybe I'll just stick to going to bars and to my drinking buddies and forget about these Christians, their Jesus and this church thing."

All are Welcome

Let's face it, experiencing the complicated parking situation and walking into the Rock Church with its massive crowds is enough to intimidate even the bravest of souls. It's a little like moving to a new town or a new school; you don't know where anything is or even where to start.

The Welcome Ministry's goal is to make sure that when new people come to our "town" at the Rock Church, they receive a warm welcome and any help they may need.

What is a Welcome Ministry you ask?

The members of the Welcome Ministry are experts at spotting people who are sitting alone or appear to be a little overwhelmed by the church experience. This could be anything from a frazzled mother who is not sure where to drop off her children to a man who is sitting silently alone in the sanctuary. Whatever the situation, the Welcome Ministry has people who are there and ready to help.

Mission of the Ministry

Helping people feel welcome and a part of God's family is what the Welcome Ministry's all about
Helping people feel welcome and a part of God's family is what the Welcome Ministry's all about

The Welcome Ministry is a new ministry led by Ann Yerkes. Ann has been a Christian for 30 years, and a member of the Rock Church since its conception.

"I want to make sure that everyone who attends a service or any event for the first time at the Rock Church has a meaningful contact with someone who is a member," Anne says. "This ministry is proactive and gets out there and really looks for people to talk with."

Ann understands the importance of people feeling connected and encouraged not just to return to the Rock Church, but to continue in their search for and service to the Lord. If people need prayer, the members of the Welcome Ministry will pray with them or take them to the Altar Call/Prayer room where prayer team members will warmly welcome and pray with them.

The Welcome Ministry's mission is to make sure that newcomers are made to feel welcomed and to assure them that they are not alone at the Rock Church. This ministry has a wide range of services to offer newcomers. The members of the Welcome Ministry talk with newcomers and really try to find out what needs they can help meet. The Welcome Ministry wants newcomers to know that it does matter that they are at the Rock.

What's in Store for Newcomers?

The Welcome Ministry gives tours of the Rock Church facilities. Following the tour, newcomers have an opportunity to pick up information about different ministries and opportunities at The Rock. They will all be given an invitation to attend the next monthly Newcomer's Reception where one of the pastors will welcome them again, and share the Mission and the Vision of the Rock Church.

After the initial Welcome Ministry reception, the members keep in contact with the newcomers by email and telephone. They talk with newcomers about small groups and even, when possible, introduce them to the leader of the small group they decide to attend. The whole mission of the Welcome Ministry is to get people involved with the church.

We Should All be Members of the Welcome Ministry

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:1-2

The Welcome Ministry was created to embrace newcomers and make them feel welcomed at and a part of the Rock Church-to show them the love and acceptance of Jesus.

We should each remember that at one time we were alone in a new church, town, or other place in this world, and should be able to understand the importance of others making you feel welcome. Therefore, every one of us should be members of the Welcome Ministry.

From now on, let's be more than mere "Church Folk" who just talk about the love of Christ. Let's be true Christians who extend the love of Christ to all we meet, especially the newcomers to the Rock Church.

For more information about the Welcome Ministry, click here »