Invite, Welcome, Connect – An Introduction by Fr. Andy
Over the past few months, the clergy at St. John’s have started to implement the Invite, Welcome, Connect program. Originally developed in the Diocese of Texas, Invite, Welcome, Connect is now nationally recognized as a ministry of “relational evangelism and congregational empowerment”. Being intentional in the areas of Inviting (evangelism), Welcoming (greeting), and Connecting can help refine St. John’s from being a community of friends into a friendly community that excels in being a place where people experience genuine connections to God and other Christians.
The Invite section is focused on the relational evangelism aspect of our Christian lives. This includes asking people to attend our “side door” events like “Wine and Art” and the music concert series. However, and more importantly, Invite challenges each of us to invite people in our lives into a deeper relationship with us, with other parishioners, and most importantly, into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Of course, once people decide to attend an event or worship at St. John’s, they need to experience a warm Welcome. While a particular focus for our ushers and greeters, each of us can take some extra care to be aware of “strangers” among us and offer our hospitality to help them feel welcomed and a part of our family. When we arrive at a new place, it’s great to be greeted with a warm smile and a hello. Each of us should have that concern and intentionally greet people at church that we do not know.
Lastly, people stay and develop relationships with each other and with God when they are able to Connect. Connections begin with being welcomed and are developed through intentional follow up. The clergy and our greeters take extra care to learn something about our guests and help connect them to other parishioners with whom they might have something in common. Beyond this, we strive to connect our guests into the ministries of the church wherein they can be discipled and serve alongside other parishioners as we all grow together in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Stay tuned for more information and encouragement regarding this program!