The Outreach Team has been working diligently for the entire year. Using the study book, Radical Hospitality, from Richard Schnases book Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation, we have discussed ways that we can do a better job of inviting, welcoming and supporting newcomers to our community of faith.
The team conducted a walk-through of the church and have made recommendations about the looks of the building and where things might be placed vs where they are now. This is an attempt to make the church more friendly looking to visitors.
We have developed a brochure for the church that can be used to introduce new members of the community to the church. This will be in print soon and will be placed at the Stephenson County Welcome Center east of Freeport.
We have set up a schedule for “Welcomers” who greet visitors to the church. These people greet visitors and pin a small cross on them indicating that they are visiting. Visitors receive a “Welcome” booklet which includes our current newsletter, the brochure and a church pencil. Follow-up letters are sent to visitors and a pastoral visit is arranged for those who visit more frequently. When you see one of these crosses on a visitor, be sure to greet them and introduce yourself. Make sure to welcome them to come to Holy Grounds after the service.
We also supported the membership of the Church in the Chamber of Commerce and will be using that venue to get more information about the church out into the community.
We are looking to the local neighborhood and inviting them to come to the church for services. We have started that by canvassing the neighborhood with flyers and invitations to the Christmas Eve service. As Christmas Eve is often a time when visitors do come, we have prepared gift packets of cookies, with a card listing our Christmas Affirmation of Faith and church information, to give to everyone as they leave the service.
We are studying ideas for other special church events as an opportunity to invite friends and family to join us. As meals for neighbors could be a good option, we are investigating certification of our kitchen and a kitchen supervisor through the Health Department.
To encourage and inform our own members, we purchased the booklet “Welcome to the Presbyterian Church” for all member families. We sponsored the Presbyterian Heritage Sunday in November. Also to serve our own members, we are investigating transportation options for those who need a ride to get to services. Periodically, we check attendance records and send information to members who are not attending regularly.
Our goal is to make Christ known in our local community. We welcome anyone who is interested to join this team.
Outreach Team –
and Ray Saunders.