Now, as to your other questions about being welcoming, I’ll be totally up front - I went to a church for years where visitors were called out in front of everyone, and where there was a “hand shake time” to “meet and greet” new people. It was UNBELIEVABLY uncomfortable and awkward, and I regularly thought if I were a new person at this church, after experiencing that, I wouldn’t come back.
I think some churches (not all) have gone a bit overboard in attempting to be welcoming. They, as you’d mentioned, almost put the newbies on display in an attempt to honor them, but it really embarrasses or frustrates, or maybe even scares them. On the flip side, I’ve seen some churches completely IGNORE visitors, and expect the newbie to make the first contact with someone, which can be just as equally frustrating.
So, I’ll speak for CommUNITY Church - here, you’ll be warmly welcomed by one or two people as you come through the doors, and will be given a program that tells a little about us. You’ll be asked to fill out a Green Card (just like the ENTIRE congregation is asked to do every week, so people aren’t looking around for the “noobs” filling out the card) and drop it in the offering box on your way out the door after the service. A personal letter will be sent to you, thanking you for being a part of the congregation on that Sunday, and inviting you back to hang out with us again, at your convenience. A follow-up call or email may happen, but sometimes it doesn’t because we want friends to feel welcomed and invited back, but not overcrowded or pushed into anything. At the end of the day, we’re honored to serve and pastor you and your family as you allow, and we welcome and accept ANYONE and EVERYONE, no matter their background or current situations.
We know that as you continue to join us and become a part of the CommUNITY, God will challenge you as He challenges us, so there’s no judgment of anyone else because they sin differently than us… we’re all on the journey together, and we want to encourage each other and build each other up and help each other… NOT tear each other down or be a discouragement, or even judgmental.
So, it sounds like you’ve had some rough experiences at churches. I encourage you to take note, but don’t give up. Try another and another and another until you find somewhere that:
1. preaches the Word of God clearly,
2. helps you feel welcomed but not on display, and
3. provides opportunities for you to get involved at your pace.
I hope this helps… and by all means, you’re welcome to try out CommUNITY Church. Everyone’s welcome; nobody’s perfect; ANYTHING’S possible.