Welcoming Training Draws Large Turnout


By Sybil Davidson

What would the world lose if my church ceased to exist?
That is just one of the many challenging questions raised during a recent Rethink Church workshop at Peachtree Road UMC.

Nearly 300 participants gathered earlier this month for “Welcoming Training” as part of the Rethink Church initiative.
Among the other questions addressed:
 • When is the last time I invited someone to accompany me to an activity?
 • What are the characteristics of my church when it is at its best?
 • How welcoming is my church to families with children and youth and how welcoming are we to those children and youth?
The Rethink Church phase of the Igniting Ministry program focuses on 18-34-year-olds, who are looking for places to use their gifts to change the world. 
Participants at the workshop split into three different tracks — Welcome, Connect and Identify — to discuss how these different pieces of the welcome ministry could be applied to the local church in reaching more young people.  Each atendee left with workbooks designed to help chart an action plan and track progress. 
Workshop leaders came from across the country. Rev. Larry Homitsky of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, Larry Hygh of the California-Pacific Conference, and Billy Reeder of the Arkansas Conference each facilitated a track.
Anyone unable to attend the workshop can take a free online course, which is available October 7–November 11. The online course has four sessions that take about an hour each. The course allows you to work at your own pace as you read information, explore multimedia materials, engage in discussion forums, complete assignments, take quizzes and share feedback.
To register, go to www.rethinkchurch.org and click: Welcoming Training.

Tips for Better Welcoming
A sample from the workshop taken from “50 Ideas Under $500” (for the complete list, go to:  www.rethinkchurch.org)

  • Sponsor an auto service day for single moms, offering free advice and car washes.
  • Do a direct-mail campaign to promote a sermon series that would interest the community.
  • Print placemats for locally owned restaurants to use.
  • Put together care packages for college students during finals week, or just to surprise them.
This article appeared in the August 21 edition of the North Georgia Advocate. To subscribe or renew, visit www.ngumc.org/advocate.