Book Review: Becoming a Welcoming Church



Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom Rainer showed up in my mailbox a few weeks ago totally out of the blue.  The timing was great!  Our church recently added a new ministry called Host Team.  Emma and I have been on the Greeter Team for a while, but now we will do 2 Sundays a month with greeting and 2 Sundays a month with Hosting.  On the host team, our role is to do everything we can to help people feel welcome and a part of our worship service at Cedarcrest.  Honestly…some of it is a little outside my comfort zone.  I’m perfectly fine standing on a stage speaking in front of a large auditorium…but it takes a good bit of courage for me to walk up to people I don’t know and just start up a conversation.  However, that is an area I believe the Lord is challenging me to grow in…so I signed up for Host Team.  I’ve read several of Thom Rainer’s books over the years about ministry…I’ve linked to several of my Rainer reviews here.  Becoming a Welcoming Church is very timely because it challenges me to walk into our church tomorrow morning with a fresh set of eyes to see how a guest would feel on our campus.  In a culture that has totally gone off the rails, people are looking for answers to their questions.  Let’s do everything we can to clear away the barriers for guests who are visiting our churches.  A gospel focused philosophy of hosting can make all the difference in the world!

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • Romans 12:13 “pursue hospitality” p. 3
  • 1 Timothy 3:2–3 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. (ESV) p. 3
  • Titus 1:7–8 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (ESV) p. 4
  • Most church members have forgotten what it’s like to be a first-time guest. p. 8
  • Guests are most overlooked in the few minutes right before the worship services.  No one speaks to them or sits with them. p. 20
  • Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (ESV) p. 33
  • 1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (ESV) p. 33
  • What can you do personally to make guests feel more welcomed just prior to the beginning of the worship services? p. 33
  • Good church signage is a statement of your church’s hospitality.  It means you are expecting guests; and it means you desire for guests to come to your church. p. 39
  • What led you to visit your church? p. 42
  • You may be too familiar with your church.  You may have lost the ability to see things from an outsider’s perspective.  Or you may love your church so deeply that you are willing to overlook issues such as clutter or dirt or unsafe areas. p. 54
  • Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, (ESV) p. 66
  • You must understand and believe in the importance of becoming a welcoming church.  If you don’t buy in, you won’t emphasize it.  You won’t lead it.  You won’t work it. p. 88
  • Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV) p. 91
  • The welcoming church is more of an attitude or disposition.  It represents the mind-set of an outward focus rather than an inward focus.  It is about serving rather than being served. p. 98

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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