Just a quick post while I’m on the road. A colleague of mine and I were talking about appropriate follow-up plans for first-time visitors and I referenced a thread on the Advanced Leadership Forum about what was considered a “valuable” gift. I had written about the pastor taking a gift to a first-time visitor within 24 hours of their visit in an earlier blog post and mentioned a coffee mug as a gift. In the “valuable” gift thread, I echoed Tom Bandy’s sentiments that a gift taken to a guest should reflect something of value … and folks, coffee mugs just don’t make it much in that realm. Why, even the local garage and the banks give away mugs and though they can be a “nice” gift, very few people marvel at the gift of a mug from a Realtor, let alone a church. A gift of value is something that sets you apart from the crowd … it makes an impression. So, back to the convesation with my colleague. We were talking about “valuable” gifts and I mentioned that in some locales, a plate of homemade cookies (with a fridge magnet for posterity’s sake) would be more memorable than a mug. That sparked an insight. Turns out that one of the churches there in Jefferson City has a bee keeper and first time visitor leave the worship service with a small jar of honey. On the following day, a member of their follow-up team takes the guests a loaf of hot homemade bread to go with their honey. I thought … what a good idea! But their program could be made even more effective with two additions. First, I love the idea of sending them home with honey. That’s a nice way to get visitors to identify themselves and give up their contact information. Second, I love the idea of taking them hot homemade bread … but the pastor should be the one taking it, and s/he should be taking it that day.
But there’s still one thing missing. Permanency. Once the bread’s gone and the honey’s gone, there’s nothing but a memory. It’ll be a good memory, but they may or may not remember where the great gift came from six months from now when a crisis hits and they seek both God and a church in earnest. So I did a very brief Google search and came up with this: a small honey pot to go with the bread and honey ($2,70 each).Someone with a steady hand could add the name and contact info of the church on the honey pot (or a ceramic’s group could actually make them and decorate them by hand) and then the valuable gift has everything … it creates good will, it makes an impression, and it has permanency to preseve the memory. And if this church (or yours) did this, first time visitors would be telling their friends about the church they visited that helped them feel valuable too.
I and my wife have attended a church that we hopefully will join in the near future. However during the last month we have underwent a serious problem that we had to work on before we even got back to church. I requested prayer for us but I never heard back from anyone including the Pastor and his concern for us. We are known to the church, we are not strangers. To date which is now about 5-6 weeks we have been absent. None of the Elders, neither Pastor or member has contacted us to see if we needed help or just a word of care for us.
We are both hurt with the bad situation but this obvious lack of concern from the Church is even more disturbing. At this point I am really not certain we will return. I am stubborn and I believe the Pastor or Elders should have demonstrated some care. I am not going to contact anyone and if we decide to leave I will lovingly write a letter to the Leadership. It just hurts a lot especially when we have been involved in the activities, both morning and evening services, Wednesday night dinners, men’s prayer breakfast, its just not right. Oh well, it is what it is. How can I return to this church when I really love it and the people and leadership there.
The problem with churches is that they are full of people. And people are fallible and mostly interested in their own personal “best” interest. In church, people get hurt and they unintentionally hurt others. If carte blanche forgiveness isn’t in your plans, I’d recommend following Jesus’ plan of reconciliation as found in Matthew 18:15–17. But if you can’t get reconciliation, then go for resolution, which means walking away without looking back (as in, dust your feet off as you leave).