A church can feel a lot like a family.
You have people you have known your entire life, people you like, and even people you don’t always get along with. 😉
There is something very powerful in the family relationships people have in churches, and we really are all family in the sense of being sisters and brothers in Christ. But there is one danger in the church feeling like a family: nobody likes to go to someone else’s family reunion, because it’s just awkward to be the only stranger in a group. In a similar way, the close relationships people have in churches can make outsiders feel left out, like they just don’t quite belong.
Sometimes churches even add to these feelings by treating newcomers like they are trespassing. At one church, I once heard of a parishioner forcing a visitor to move because they sat in their “family” pew! So, this January we’re going to talk about how we can be a church who welcomes all people, instead of a church where Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted.