Worship with us this Sunday!! 10:30 a.m. in-person, on our ECC Worship page, or on YouTube. We hope to see you there!

The Touchstone of Welcome

2024-2-27 | Pastor Kristin Devine Mueller

At the start of this new year, Pastor Stacey invited us to more intentionally take part in the different elements that guide us along the path of transformation. He shared that our recent prayer and conversations on missional strategy had led our church leadership to develop initiatives around two of our three ECC Touchstones, WELCOME and TRANSFORMATION.

In that same article, and in our January sermon series, we heard details of a transformational pathway, a way of traveling together so that Christ might be more fully formed in us.

Behind the scenes, a team has also been doing work around the touchstone of WELCOME. The WELCOME initiative at ECC is all about fostering an environment and culture of gracious hospitality.

Our work began by identifying “Bright Spots,” or places where our church is or is not becoming more welcoming. As we looked, we realized there is a lot to celebrate! We had many visitors on Christmas Eve, especially at our 9pm worship service, and there were many in the congregation who took extra steps to engage visitors in conversation. We’ve put banners on the outside of our building for various events and worship services, as a more visible invitation to our community. Many people took yard signs home for Christmas Eve services and invited their neighbors to church. We’ve taken steps so that digital announcements can play in our Life Center lobby, and we’ve added bathroom ads to the Life Center, so that those who use our building throughout the week have more opportunity to engage with us in ministry. Over the weeks ahead, you’ll notice that our bathroom facilities are being remodeled and updated, so that our physical space is more welcoming. We’ve also noticed that our congregation is gathering and visiting in many places around the building on Sunday mornings after worship, and we celebrate the community that God is building in and among us!

As we look to the future, we anticipate focusing on topics around hospitality, greeters and ushers, attendance collection, the visitor experience, the welcome counter, the Sunday morning lobby experience, social media and online presence, the website, our potential name change, the church buildings, Children’s Ministry procedures, and the new ECC app. Each of those topics could provide us with a depth and breadth of work that could keep us busy for quite a while! Our team will begin by first working together with our greeters, ushers, and coffee teams to evaluate and dream about the ways we use our lobby area each Sunday morning.

Together our team has listened to and learned from a podcast by the Unstuck Church and this podcast has shaped some of our initial action items. We’re working to identify our “super greeters” – people in our congregation who naturally seek out and get to know people they haven’t met before. Our hope is to put together a team that works together in the midst of our congregation. They will be a part of the welcoming process, and we will develop a system so that they can share information they learn about our guests each week.

At one point in time, we all experienced being new to ECC. Who was it that welcomed you, who showed you Christ’s love and hospitality, and who helped you get to know a little bit more about our people and our church? We can all play a role with welcome each Sunday morning, and so we invite you to help us become a more welcoming congregation. Look for new families and people you haven’t met around you each week and have a conversation with them. As you seek to be hospitable and gracious to all people on Sunday morning, you may end up having a kingdom impact that carries on for generations to come, as we heard in the story of Neal Jordan just a few weeks ago.

Questions about the Welcome Team or our work? We invite you to reach out to a team member – Danielle Clark, Kurt Kincanon, Stacey Littlefield, Meghan McClellan, Kristin Mueller, or Ronda Ooms.