Does the “Meet & Greet” Belong in Our Worship Services?

Apparently some are all “shook up” over the practice of greeting visitors during worship services. A variety of polls suggests that most visitors are extremely uncomfortable with this practice. Studies also suggest that many faithful church attendees are also uncomfortable with the practice of greeting the familiar, as well as those who may be new, in the ebb and flow of a church service.

Granted, there is clearly no Scriptural command to include a one minute and twenty-seven second opportunity in the worship service for greeting those you know or don’t know. There are a few passages though that speak to a practice of greeting one another with the “right hand of fellowship” (Galatians 2:9) and in other cases an “agape kiss” (1 Peter 5:14). However, these passages seem to simply report what was done and are not included to give a clear imperative for universal and normative church practice (though it’s enough to convince me of the benefit).

I have spoken previously about different levels of koinonia (fellowship). Interestingly, the “right hand of fellowship” and the “agape kiss” were mainly reserved for those within the church family. Are there implications that might impact the question of greeting one another in a church service? I think there are.

For local fellowship

While I’m not bothered that many church leaders do not include the “meet and greet” in their worship services, the stated reasons why many reject such a practice are, in my view, telling. There seems to be a common theme in the majority of those who reject the practice: “unchurched Harry and Mary,” who are visiting, really don’t want to be greeted.

Apparently, right next to the authority of the Bible is the opinion of the church seeker? This is the same kind of reasoning that fuels the church-growth movement as a whole. Let’s make the non-believer comfortable with church. Have we considered that perhaps church isn’t supposed to be that comfortable for those who are in rebellion against God? That’s not to say we should be rude or unfriendly.

To be clear, if there is a benefit for taking time in the service to encourage “right hands of fellowship” and “agape kisses,” it is primarily for Christ’s family. What I’ve experienced over twenty-three years of ministry is that when believers who are part of the body, or believers who are visiting (as Paul and Barnabas were visiting the believers with Peter in the Galatians passage), are greeted with a handshake or an arm around the shoulder, there is a real ministry of encouragement that takes place. I personally believe this can be an aspect of the comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve embraced believers in a foreign land, who speak a different language, and yet in that momentary embrace volumes are communicated to each other. So the church I pastor includes the 87 seconds of “meet and greet.” I doubt seriously we will be removing the practice any time soon, and there are a variety of reasons why.

For the unchurched and visitors, too

Though the “right-hand of fellowship” and the “agape kiss” seems to have been primarily reserved for recognizing brothers and sisters in the assembly, there seems to be a legitimate role also for welcoming visitors who are outside the membership of the congregation. In our society, greeting one another is a sign of compassion and welcome. Paul explains in Galatians 6:10 that, “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Frankly, not only does Heaven expect that believers would reach out to outsiders, but the outsiders themselves expect it. On a few occasions our folks have not been aggressive in shaking hands and reaching out to visitors. On each of those occasions one of the comments made by a visitor was how disappointing it was that no one greeted them! I think in 16 years that’s happened three times. On all three occasions the congregation was encouraged to do better.

I had the momentary thought after a recent flurry of articles against the “meet and greet” to just inform the next ignored visitor that all the church growth experts happen to know they really don’t want to be put-out by being greeted!

Compassion and openness

I would use an additional argument to defend the practice of greeting one another, using appropriate physical contact. Southeast Valley Baptist Church actually is not only a handshaking church. This will of course make us the laughing stock assembly of “hip” and “cool” church planters everywhere, but—we are a hugging church! We do that appropriately. Our congregation is compassionate and I’m very thankful for that. On a regular basis when that compassion is combined with a warm embrace the one being loved will break down with tears as they share various challenges of life. Talk about a great opportunity for real ministry! That doesn’t happen if you hermitically seal up visitors away from the rest of the congregation in some kind of an invisible “no formal greeting zone!”

There is something powerful when you combine compassion, love, worship and physical touch. I’ve on a few occasions wanted to throw a chalk eraser at some speaker who tells a room full of pastors they should never physically touch other believers. I’m fearful that some fundamentalist preachers are unbalanced in the topic of physical contact because there is something weird and twisted going on sexually, either personally or embedded in the DNA of the ministry they lead. Sex has been so poorly handled (even exegetically) as a biblical topic that we in separatist circles too often struggle in explaining how to have appropriate physical contact with other believers, especially of the other gender. It’s one of the areas that too many segments of fundamentalism handles irresponsibly.

The result of that has been multi-faceted. To say you can shepherd the sheep and not touch them is—unfathomable! Of course, so many churches and “church leaders” have lost the real meaning of what a shepherd is and what sheep are. Sheep have become computer numbers representing “giving units” instead of precious co-laborers who are dear to us in the faith as our own family.

Fighting exclusivity

Coming back to the topic at hand (pun intended!) there is one more reason I think it’s good to lead our church members into a season of greeting others who are present for Sunday worship. Our church (like every church) attracts a few believers every now and then who are tempted to enjoy their little circle of accepted friends (think “smug little clique”) at the expense of the rest of the body.

James 2 warns against reaching out with a warm welcome to the “golden fingered man” (James 2:2-3) while ignoring everyone else. That being the case, I like the practice of stretching the comfort zone of believers who would just prefer to only be with the two or three people they like. They need to understand they are in deep need of growing out of their selfish little bubble into God’s bigger world. Actually our congregation is probably as healthy as it has ever been in reaching out to different kinds of people with true Christ-like love and I’m thankful for it.

Of course this kind of thing makes some Christians uncomfortable, but as their pastor I’m not interested in their being more comfortable—I’m interested in their growing in Christ likeness! We have far too much individualism and spoiled-brathood in the body of Christ in North America for me to remove a practice just because some Christian (or even some visitor who may be seeking a God of his own imagining) doesn’t like to be bothered by greeting another believer who may be different than he is.

If visitors are truly offended by 87 seconds of greeting as the first step of “body life,” well, they can be offended! Part of a visitor’s seeking and thinking through a relationship with God is “counting the cost” of faith and repentance. Jesus makes the point (Luke 14:26) that part of the cost of discipleship is taking on a new family. That kind of “new family commitment” is going to demand much more uncomfortable elements than shaking hands with a complete stranger for 5 seconds!

One good counterargument

Having said all of that, I can think of one potentially good reason to junk the 87 second “meet and greet.” Some believers actually think they have fulfilled the “one-another’s” in the New Testament because they spend those 87 seconds each week reaching out to people who they might otherwise ignore. The 87 seconds is such a pathetic replacement for real body-life, it actually might be good in some cases to remove the 87 seconds so the church realizes one-another ministry requires far, far more.

In these days of automated, “have big church your way” innovation, I love the little antidote that comes from December 1989 Bits & Pieces. Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, “but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”

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There are 33 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm kind of ambivalent about the m & g.

I can't really see any strong reason to not do it. Joel has several strong points in favor, and I'd add that though the m & g can be a kind of interruption of worship, maybe the problem in that case is an overly formal and overly narrow idea of what the worship service is supposed to accomplish.(I'm convinced we need both "high," formal worship and also more informal worship). Anyway, the apostles who encouraged greeting didn't seem to be worried about whether it was part of the liturgy. Paul doesn't say "greet one another... but make sure it isn't between the gloria patri and the Scripture reading. That would be totally out of place."

On the other hand, almost everything Joel mentions in favor of the m & g can be accomplished just as effectively, if not more effectively, in the church lobby between services or at other events. The difference is that lobby m & g is less structured and more initiative is required from members to step up and say hello to someone. Maybe both-and is better than either or.

In defense of those who don't shake or hug...  I don't think sex has anything to do with it, other than--in some cases--an excessive zeal to avoid impropriety. It's great that they want to keep things proper, but it's clearly not healthy or biblical if we become touch-ophobic. Holiness doesn't mean becoming robots. (Some have a huge fear of where alot of hugging might lead, but I wonder if anybody's studied whether it actually leads to improper relationships any more than not-hugging does. I really doubt it.)

But touchy-feely-huggy types need to understand that not everybody is wired that way. Some folks are demonstrative and emotionally-open. Some are more reserved and emotionally private. Each can learn a lot from the other to avoid unedifying extremes. I'm not a hugger... but when I'm surrounded by people who are, I find that joining in works out just fine, and I'm often the better for it. (Got hugged more on one Sunday in Brazil than a year of Sundays at my home church!  ...but I think both are just fine.)

Ron Bean's picture

Here are my reasons:

Awkward-Picture a small church that has occasional visitors. While the piano plays, 40 members surround two visitors to make them feel welcome.

Useless: No visitors but we do the required M and G any way.

Breaks the flow of a worship service: Prayer and singing interrupted by too many minutes of people milling around while singing "There's a Welcome Here".

And then there was the member who told me he liked the M and G because he didn't have time to talk to anyone before or after the service.

And then there was the time I was visiting a rather large church and during its M and G, introduced myself as Bob Jones to everyone who shook my hand and got nothing but polite smiles and greetings in response.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Ed Vasicek's picture

As someone who thinks calling a church service "worship" is unscriptural (although I do believe worship does take place during typical church meetings), and one who believes the church is to do all things in its meetings for edification (which is both vertical and horizontal), I see things differently.

I Corinthians 14:26b in NASB reads:
 

 Let all things be done for edification.

The context is not life (I do not need to do everything in life for edification), but a church meeting. Why have we lost this truly Scriptural perspective and substituted the idea that all things are to be done for worship, which is merely part of the whole (edification includes and nurtures worship, but is ALSO more others directed).

 

 I believe greeting one another is a very good idea (I Peter 5:15, although I believe the kiss is cultural).

 

I am blowing the whistle. Stop assuming a worship format and listen to  the actual words of the New Testament. Stop reading "worship" when the New Testament paradigm is Edification.  

"The Midrash Detective"

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I don't feel like I've "met" someone if all I did was shake their hand and get their name, which I will likely forget before I get back to my seat. 

I agree with those who feel like the traditional "meet and greet" breaks up the flow of the service. I much prefer to arrive to church early to have time to meet and greet, and stay a few minutes after to chat and at the very least have enough conversation so that I can form a mnemonic to remember their name. And sometimes sitting in church is the first time I've sat down all week in an atmosphere where nothing is expected of me except to listen and learn. 

I have no problems with shaking hands, but I am not a hugger. However, when I became involved in Deaf ministry, I had to set aside my aversion to hands-on greetings and just go with it. My friends often made fun of me (good-naturedly) because they knew how difficult it was. I'm still not totally comfortable with hugging, especially when it is spontaneous and I'm not expecting it. 

JohnBrian's picture

I skipped my own church last Sunday to visit another church - visit about once every 4 or 5 years. Was greeted in the lobby by a gentleman who asked me too many questions and made me feel uncomfortable.

On a previous visit I ended up on the 2nd row and read the bulletin while the pastor had all the visitors stand and introduce themselves. At the end the pastor singled me out to stand, since the church had "missed" welcoming me - very embarrassing!

I do like the greet time at my church but we are under 40 in attendance when everyone shows up.

I also no longer fill out visitor cards when I visit a church, whether in town or when traveling.

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Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

JohnBrian wrote:
 I skipped my own church last Sunday to visit another church - visit about once every 4 or 5 years. Was greeted in the lobby by a gentleman who asked me too many questions and made me feel uncomfortable.

On a previous visit I ended up on the 2nd row and read the bulletin while the pastor had all the visitors stand and introduce themselves. At the end the pastor singled me out to stand, since the church had "missed" welcoming me - very embarrassing!

My dh and I have done the visiting thing on and off for four years, and there's nothing worse than being singled out like that, IMO. I don't feel welcomed at all, I feel like I've had a target painted on my forehead so the church membership recruiters can find me and tell me all the reasons why we should join their church. We never go back if the primary message we receive during any "meet and greet" is "join our church". Especially when they ask us where we met (my dh is from NJ and I'm from WV, and this is obvious the minute we open our mouths), and we say "Bible college" and their response is "Hey, if you join our church, we can put you to work right away!" 

Yes, this has happened, and more than once. 

Greg Long's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Here are my reasons:

Awkward-Picture a small church that has occasional visitors. While the piano plays, 40 members surround two visitors to make them feel welcome.

Useless: No visitors but we do the required M and G any way.

Breaks the flow of a worship service: Prayer and singing interrupted by too many minutes of people milling around while singing "There's a Welcome Here".

And then there was the member who told me he liked the M and G because he didn't have time to talk to anyone before or after the service.

And then there was the time I was visiting a rather large church and during its M and G, introduced myself as Bob Jones to everyone who shook my hand and got nothing but polite smiles and greetings in response.

Ron, in the OP Joel makes a point that he thinks the M&G is for the body, not for visitors.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

It may well be that the in-service m & g requires an optimal size congregation. If you have 40 or less, I can see how the surround-the-visitor thing might be more likely, compared to 100+ , where folks are going to instinctively not try to mob the visitor... if they even know who is a visitor.

...but a bit of training could solve this problem too. Regulars should be encouraged to greet those close to them, not cross the auditorium/aisle, etc... and they can be helped to understand that it's a bit frightening for visitors to be over-greeted.

My family and I visited several churches also before we settled where we are now. I don't remember who did m & g and who didn't... but I don't remember being intimidated by that. Still, I have to say I've generally felt more comfortable w/one or two folks greeting me in a lobby.

Agree w/Joel that it's not all about comfort, but the goal should be win-win: ways to help folks connect and at the same time not alienate guests.

Bert Perry's picture

My take is that all too often, "meet & greet" is a way to get peoples minds off the afternoon football game or lunch and remind them that the church is the body of Christ and people, not a building.  Something like training wheels to get people to actually love one another.  My wife and I routinely end up talking with one family (sometimes old, sometimes new) when someone makes the "mistake" of answering "how are you doing today?" honestly and not with the blanket "fine."

And if I were Susan R, I'd answer the question about where she met her spouse with "at an AC/DC concert" or something like that just out of orneriness.  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

And if I were Susan R, I'd answer the question about where she met her spouse with "at an AC/DC concert" or something like that just out of orneriness.  :^)

My wife has done something like that.  She answered a question about how she was doing with a negative answer, and the other person just continued walking right past after that answer, and it took them about halfway up the aisle to realize what my wife had just said!

We only do the "meet and greet" on Wednesday nights, when it's mostly our members, and it lasts about 15 minutes, so that people can really find out what's going on.  Much short than that, and I think it's pointless.

Dave Barnhart

Rob Fall's picture

we formally greet each other and visitors while the choir comes down after they've sung.  The pianist plays the next hymn to be sung.  After the am service, there's a coffee and goody time.  One factor is HSBC get visitors from around the country and the world.  Most of whom have no connection with any of the members.  On more than one occasion we were found in the yellow pages.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

And if I were Susan R, I'd answer the question about where she met her spouse with "at an AC/DC concert" or something like that just out of orneriness.  :^)

dcbii wrote:
My wife has done something like that.  She answered a question about how she was doing with a negative answer, and the other person just continued walking right past after that answer, and it took them about halfway up the aisle to realize what my wife had just said!

I could say that when we met, I was at the podium in the chapel doing an impression of Billy Crystal's impression of Fernando Lamas. That would be the truth. And Ken was very impressed, obviously.

Joel Tetreau's picture

So to let you all squirm to the next level - on one occasion when we had essentially the core group of our most faithful families (I think this was back when we had Sunday PM service)  - I asked each person as they visited to share what the Lord was doing in their life with the other person - I think we took ten minutes or so. I then asked folks to stand behind the person they had just been visiting and to put their hands on their shoulder and pray publically and  specifically for any needs they could pray for (if the issue was not a sensitive issue). I learned this one from my mentor Dr. James Singleton. I remember him doing a similar thing in our small groups back at Tri-City Baptist when I was a student at IBC (back in the day). You can't believe the effect. It brought the core group together even closer. No we would not have done that to visitors ...... but for the core of leadership ..... it was fantastic.

For whatever it's worth........

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Ron Bean's picture

Sorry I missed the point of the OP. I just had memories of being a visitor at M & G churches and feeling uncomfortable at an activity that I'd never seen at any other public gathering of people united by a common bond. 

In nearly 40 years of attending churches where M & G was part of the liturgy, I can honestly say that I never benefited from it. There was no time to conduct even a brief conversation and I'd usually already spoken to most of the members before the service or would do so after. It seemed like a case of symbolism over substance.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Richard Brunt's picture

My wife and I are uncomfortable with “meet and greet”.  We are not “unchurched Harry and Mary” and we do want to be greeted.  We have been looking for some time now for a church in our area to join.  We have been widening both our distance search and our doctrinal search which requires a lot of soul searching as to what type of churches we could join and where we could compromise without compromising our convictions.  Needless to say that requires visiting a lot of churches.  It has been our experience that when we visit a church that has meet and greet most of the meet and greet goes on between members.  Sometimes these meet and greet times go on for 5 or 10 minutes while everyone chats with one another.  We have been in churches that the only ones to shake our hands where people we went up to.  I have never had someone at a meet and greet church actually introduce themselves to us, ask our names or why we are visiting. After the service no one speaks to us. I guess because they already “greeted” us.  We have actually had one Pastor say from the pulpit, “there’s some visitors everybody go shake their hands” and they all lined up to shake our hands.  It was very awkward.  We have found churches without a meet and greet time to be much more friendly. They make you feel like they are greeting you because they are glad you are there rather than because they have been told to.  I have nothing in agreement with the church-growth movement but if visitors are offended let be the Gospel not how we greet them.

Richard E Brunt

Anne Sokol's picture

I don't like traditional meet-greet in a service either. I don't mind it terribly b/c I'm used to experiencing it, but it's all just weird in some ways.

I like what our church here does-- we have tea and cookies after the service and people hang out and mix and chat. You can snag visitors that way, if one is so inclined.

I don't think this would work in american churches--positioning it after the service, but maybe between SS and church, but then, do you meet the visitors at all?

Friendliness is the point of all this, I guess, and some extent of fellowship so people feel loved and  involved, and there are various ways to get to that. I find, when we are the visitors, that someone striking up a conversation about who we are, what we do, etc. to be great at making me feel noticed but not embarrassed by a strange, congregational level of attention.  meet-greet you can't really do a conversation b/c you don't know when the song will end and you'll have to part hastily.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Our "meet and greet" is around 10 minutes, right before the pastoral prayer and offering.  Because we are a fairly new urban church (4 years this Easter), our people have always been intentional in reaching out to everyone, including visitors.  We've had a few people that felt somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, but they come from churched backgrounds and were not used to any form of meet and greet.  Unchurched people from the 'hood love it!! 

Greg Long's picture

Here is what our church does (note that we are a mid-size SBC church according to SBC standards, although large for Iowa standards):

  • We print off nametags for everyone each week and encourage everyone to pick them up and wear them. This is to help people greet one another by name (and help us track worship service attendance). Some people refuse to take and wear their name tags, but most do. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the welcome center, where we encourage them to make their own name tag (hand written). This makes it easier to spot a visitor since their name tag is hand written not printed.
  • We do have the traditional M&G time during the service. We don't face some of the issues that a smaller church would have with there being few or none visitors that make it obvious when the regulars either ignore or overwhelm the few visitors. However, people can still fall into the rut of primarily greeting people they know.
  • We have a "chat room" between our two service. The first service usually ends at 10am and the second service begins at 10:30am, so first service people are encouraged to stay while second service people are encouraged to come early to chat. The incentive is donuts, bananas, and coffee. I would say about 25-40% of our people who attend on a Sunday take advantage of this.
  • Obviously we don't rely on the M&G time as the only avenue of interacting with visitors, but have a number of follow up strategies as I'm sure most of you do as well.
  • And obviously we don't rely on the M&G time as the primary means of fellowship between believers. We hope that the primary means for growth in true Christian fellowship happens in our small groups.

Honestly I go back and forth on the M&G, especially given my introverted nature. I think Tim Challies has a good perspective on it here: http://www.challies.com/articles/how-i-learned-to-embrace-the-stand-and-greet-time (sorry if this has already been linked to in this or another thread).

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Current church: at the conclusion of our singing, our Worship Pastor will usually (but not always) say something like "Before you are seated, take a moment to greet others around you."  60 seconds at most, and I've shaken 4-5 hands, while exchanging plesantries.  No big deal.

OTOH, I've been in churches where everyone turned toward the conspicuous visitor(s).  Awkward!

Mark_Smith's picture

almost always I am ignored...even when I stand around obviously looking like I'd like to talk to someone. ALMOST NEVER has anyone come up to me and introduced themselves. It is always me going and talking to people. Note I don't count the door greeter in this because that is a token greeting that I see as a "job".

Worse, try being the "new guy" at a pastor's conference where you know one person but no one else. NO ONE...and I mean NO ONE, says anything to you. At the last one I was at, at lunch I tried to "work the crowd" a little and spare the gracious people that I knew and had spent most of the morning with by eating with someone new. When I sat down at a table, this pastor's wife gave a look like "who are you and how dare you sit here"...it was jarring and eye-opening at the same time.

Bert Perry's picture

I like the idea of tea & cookies that Anne notes--that's something of a ritual in Russia and Ukraine, isn't it?  I remember a similar thing done after service at a little Baptist church I visited in Germany.  Very nice, very cordial, but you've got to make sure you've got the time to do it.  That's the kicker in the U.S., I think.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

Bert, as I noted we do the American equivalent--donuts and coffee.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bert Perry's picture

Greg

Point well taken, but there are some neat, substantive differences between the American donuts & coffee and other traditions, starting with the fact that most cultures don't stand when they have their equivalent of donuts and coffee.  In the U.S., coffee and a donut are "down the hatch" in five minutes.  Elsewhere, you can count on spending half an hour or more on these interactions. 

It doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong, but if our goal is to help people grow together in Christ, we might do well to see what we can do about doing "tea" more in the Russian, Indian, or other styles--give people an opportunity to really get to know one another instead of retreating into our homes five minutes after the service ends.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bill Green's picture

Not my cup of tea. Seems forced and insincere not unlike when you tell you child to apologize even though you both know they aren't sorry. Sorry about the cynicism.

Of course it is a great way to have a little fun. I liked Ron introducing himself as Bob Jones. How about just throwing some nonsense into it? "Good morning, glad to have you with us. Did you know your socks don't match?"

FTR no  I haven't and won't but those are the kinds of things going through my head while obediently saying hi to people. Smile

INACIAS

Bill Green's picture

Give em "an holy kiss" and see how the rest otf the service goes!

INACIAS

Mark_Smith's picture

What if the man kisses you back...on the lips!

Mark_Smith's picture

what about "greeters" at the door. How many people want to be forced to run the line to get into the building, or into the sanctuary? I personally have seen people who act like their glad you are there for all of 5 seconds, then after that you don't exist!

Jim's picture

The small church advantage:

Small churches have a feeling of family that large churches can't often duplicate. Many times the small church feels like a family because it is one. The wise pastor will be reasonably sure he knows who is related to whom before he says very much to anyone about any body! It's amazing how the family tree can include some branches you would never have suspected. But aside from blood relatives, a small church just naturally generates a closer bond between members than is possible in a large congregation. In a small church everybody knows everybody else—who they are, what they do, where they live, and what they've been through. In a large church, members may know a small circle of friends that way; they probably recognize a larger group by sight, but the rest are mostly strangers. My wife learned this the hard way. We had belonged to a 600-member church for two or three years when she became one of a team of greeters at the front doors. This church always had a large number of visitors, so spotting an unfamiliar face one Sabbath morning and wanting to be friendly, she asked brightly, "Are you visiting our church today?" The man eyed her coolly and replied, "I've been a member here for six years!" Such a thing could never happen in a church of 100 members. Small churches don't have to schedule a moment of organized friendliness into the service and have everyone greet someone sitting nearby. In a small church most of the worshipers have already greeted every one else.

Bert Perry's picture

....a few times as an usher at 4th Baptist.  :^)  You smile, apologize, and go your way.  And try to remember them next time.  Thankfully a lot of people who sat on "the other side of the church" have a great sense of humor.  (young people sit closer to the nursery, older on the other side for the most part)

And I'm told that in Russian and Ukrainian churches, they will reciprocate, Mark & Bill.  Watch your cultural awareness.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

You betcha sweet booties, you'll get a good smack from a bearded brother.

Bert Perry wrote:

SNIP

And I'm told that in Russian and Ukrainian churches, they will reciprocate, Mark & Bill.  Watch your cultural awareness.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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