Monday, April 28, 2008

20 Questions

I will start this post out by saying we have the friendliest church in America. At least in my American church experience. (Which although regional, is quite extensive.) Yesterday, I had the privilege of sitting in front of a couple visiting our church from St. Charles, Missouri. I know this because I sat down in front of them and introduced myself to them with a handshake, asked them where they were from. That led to me asking if they were visiting family. No, they were in town for a ginormous conference our town hosts once a year. I then introduced them to my children one by one, made a little small talk and then turned around and took my seat.

Then I smiled to myself as no fewer than ten other people came along and went through the same litany of friendliness. I hope they felt loved and not annoyed. After the service I shook their hands again and thanked them for being so gracious as we "got to know them". Then ten more people came along to shake their hands and "visit".

It is a good thing. I've never had it happen to me anywhere but my mom's church. It also did not happen to me when I first started at this church 13-14 years ago-but then, in all fairness, it isn't at all the same church it was in those days.

Can churches be too friendly? What do you think? Post anonymously if you prefer, I have no way to trace you!!


Mama Mia said...

oooh I have a funny "friendly-church" me!

Ami said...

Churches can absolutely be too friendly. It's horrifying to some of us to have the pastor say to the congregation,
"Now, greet the person behind you and in front of you and hug them and make them welcome!"


Am I speaking from experience? I only wish I weren't.

Besides. Those people don't love me. They don't even know me. Rings false to my way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

I would also say yes. When people go to church, especially a new one or checking one out. We're not looking to be greeted by a bunch of people. Everybody seems to just be trying to get new members and when a bunch of people come up to you, you feel exactly that way.
You already feel ackward and have people looking at you, you know everybody knows you're new.

I would say a little distance is good. Wait and see if we come back more then once. Maybe after 3-4 times, then introduce yourself.

Jen, Fred, Jennifer said...

Personally I LOVE it when I am noticed at a church I am visiting. Makes me a little uncomfortable if everyone ignores me, like they are too busy to bother or something. But I was raised in the Midwest and most midwesterners are overly friendly and so I am used to it, and expect it....

I think it is more a personality thing.......and you can only do what you are comfortable with.

BTW.....St.Chas, Mo???? That would be my hometown area!!!! What conference in your town?????

Heather....again said...

Girl, you know our church is just so friendly.
Try the 11:00 one. :)

I have stories for you on this one.

Really just can't ignore people. Say hi, welcome...glad to have you..etc..and don't hug. I didn't like hugging at all. you know me!Unless they look like they need a hug:)
We liked to be noticed, Smile, etc...but left more alone so we could decide.