Most church members would tell you that theirs is a friendly congregation, eager to welcome visitors and new members into their midst. Yet far too many of these same congregations have trouble translating this intention into action. Offering a friendly greeting to a new face is important, but it is only the first of many steps that congregations must take in order to turn visitors into members, and new members into committed disciples.
The authors believe that to assimilate newcomers into the life and ministry of the congregation, the whole church system must be involved. Anderson and Coyner demonstrate how to identify and respond to visitors in a nonthreatening, yet interested way; how to share information about them with the leaders of those ministries and programs in which they would be most interested; how best to help them in their decision to become church members; and how to help them understand and fulfill their own call to ministry in the congregation. They insist that churches be motivated, not by a desire for institutional survival or advancement, but by a passion for people and their place in the kingdom of God.
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