I know the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church is doing big-sky stuff for our church writ large. But I find myself haunted by this friend's observation.
When visitors come to our parishes, what are we doing to welcome them? My parish has been working on this.
But what about those visitors who come for several Sundays, so that it looks like they might stay around? Are we giving them something to do? Or do we convey a message that we're doing quite fine and "we don't need them here"?
My friend's observation hit me between the eyes. I think we generally do a good job of welcoming folks in my parish. But in this age, where going to church is not socially expected, maybe we should think that newcomers want to be given a chore and put to work? I know that's how it worked for me when I moved into this small town. After a few weeks of inviting me to join them for after-church breakfast, they nudged me into "tasks" around the parish, and I loved working with and (thus) getting to know more people, while serving Christ.
Are we being too gentle with our visitors, who might want to be put to work? Maybe it's a "Mary and Martha" thing. But I know it was the "being needed" and "being put to work" that solidified my place in my parish before I had been here very long.
I wonder . . .