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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Handshakes on Demand

A friendly smile and a firm handshake may determine the difference between a friendly church and a standoffish one, but as far as I’m concerned this kind of welcome is most meaningful when it occurs spontaneously before and after a service. By now, you have probably figured out that I am not much for a howdy handshake on demand. What good is it if a worship leader tells everyone to move about and shake hands with others “after we sing this chorus or hymn” (whatever a hymn is) if no one shakes hands before or after the service?

I’m sure some friendly churches are small for legitimate reasons, but others are small because they don’t really want to grow. They make visitors feel unwelcome and convey the notion that “this is our church, and we want to keep it that way.”

Congregations used to sing, “Brighten the corner where you are.” Think of your church as a corner that you can brighten by flashing a big smile and extending a sincere handshake to every visitor. Don’t wait for a handshake-by-demand time to be announced!