Two “cold contacts” approached the church in the last few days… people that Michael hasn’t even met yet, but who have been in worship and wish to know how to join.
It’s a wonderful occurrence. As Michael said to Suzanne Cole, the Community Life SLG convener, “it sort of feels like people are clamoring all of a sudden to join the church!” It’s not the usual order of welcoming and helping people find their church among us on the way to membership. But who cares???
In Michael’s time with us, usually, he spots the new faces in worship (Sunday mornings up front make that easy!), and does his best to reach out to them, get to know them, and then begin facilitating their getting to know others in the life of the church. Sometime down the road, once they’ve gotten familiar with our community, people who’ve found their place among us then begin asking about membership… Michael always likes when people wishing to join can tell why this community is important to them, alongside of at least one time when they’ve seen it or us somehow be less than we could. He just wants people to know well what they are getting into and not be disappointed when, all blessings notwithstanding, we prove ourselves to be very human!
Michael has noticed some changes in this road to membership recently:
1) We continue to have more visitors. That’s such a wonderful sign that word is getting out across the city that Old First is a place to try worship and participation.
2) Notably, the time before people express interest in membership seems to be markedly shorter. Usually, Michael hasn’t even up joining for some time, and in the past, people have sojourned among us for six months or a year before feeling ready to make a commitment. But for the last few New Members Classes, we’ve had people who were relative newcomers express their interest in joining. Some have just showed up at the class!
What more could we ask?
But there’s also a challenge in this… the congregation needs to be even more intentional about recognizing and welcoming new people. Because the process seems to be speeding up. And there are just more people to welcome and help find their place among us.
We just took in a large class in October. We are still introducing them in the weekly E-pistles, and probably not everyone has met all those new members!
But if more people have found that Old First can add to their lives, we will do our best to make room for them among us– with thanksgiving! There are still others who have wanted to become members, but haven’t been able to make the New Member Class yet…
So, let’s schedule another New Members Class! Our first attempted date, 11.12, didn’t work, so maybe a bit more lead time will make a difference: Saturday afternoon, Dec. 3, starting at 12 noon.
If you want to join, 1) let Michael know, and 2) confirm if that date/time works for you (you can e-mail or call Michael, or simply write a note on the attendance sheet in worship on Sunday.)
Thanks be to God. And welcome!