Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and author of the new book Becoming a Welcoming Church. Matt O’Reilly of Orthodoxy for Everyone (OFE) recently asked Thom six questions about the book. And check out Matt’s video review of Becoming a Welcoming Church at the end of the interview.
- What prompted you to write Becoming a Welcoming Church?
It was one of the key topics that kept being discussed at my podcast, my blog, and ChurchAnswers.com.
- Several times in the book you mention the relationship between evangelism and being a welcoming church. How does intentional focus on becoming a welcoming church help us lead people to Jesus?
A welcoming church is an outwardly-focused church. An outwardly-focused church is more likely to have opportunities for gospel conversations.
- What are the dangers of not being a welcoming church?
The members will become inwardly-focused and miss opportunities to share the gospel. Also, guests will not return.
- What’s the difference between a friendly church and a welcoming church?
A friendly church loves to take care of its members. A welcoming churches also loves those on the outside.
- If a church has little or no focused attention on welcoming guests, what are the most important first steps?
Get your church’s website to be welcoming website for guests. That’s where they come first. Then train members to become welcoming members.
- What is the pastor’s role in becoming a welcoming church?
Be the example. Keep the importance of becoming a welcoming church before the members.
Dr. Matt O’Reilly is pastor of Hope Hull United Methodist Church near Montgomery, AL, a fellow of the Center for Pastor Theologians, and Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Ministry at Wesley Biblical Seminary.