It Starts in the Parking Lot
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace..." -1 Peter 4:8-10
I simply cannot contain my excitement for this Sunday coming up! For the past several months our staff has been actively praying and brainstorming how PCC can maximize their effectiveness in welcoming our guests and members before each Worship Gathering.
Let’s face it, for many of us, getting to church on Sunday mornings can be a real struggle. It doesn’t happen all the time, but our family has definitely felt the discomfort of driving to church with frustrated and flustered passengers- kids crying & complaining, babies blowing out their diapers & outfits (literally happened last month), spouses arguing (I won’t confess the frequency of this :), or the simple pre-occupation of everything that needs to be handled after church. Sunday drives to church have the potential to be stressful.
Imagine compounding that with a family visiting for the first time. There is so much unknown for that family: What should I wear? Where do I park? Where do I take my children? Will my children be safe? Where do I go for that connect group I was invited to attend? Where are the bathrooms? How long is the Worship Gathering? What is this church really like?
And although these questions are important, there are deeper questions that many guests are asking each Sunday as they arrive: Who is Jesus really? Will I be loved and accepted here? Will I finally find a place to belong? Does Jesus really care what happens to me? Is there really a purpose to my life?
Every Sunday people come on our campus with these questions. Our desire as Pastors is that we can take people on a journey from a place of being a lost seeker to a place of being a found disciple. We want to take people from the parking lot to a people to belong to- not simply a place to attend.
This all starts in the parking lot. It starts before the first note of a song is played or the first Bible verse is read. Most people make their minds as to whether they will return within the first 10 minutes of being on campus. One of our culture values at our church is that…
We are unapologetically intentional…
...in the environments we create…We desire that people feel welcome and not threatened in our gatherings…Before most people hear us, they see us. We want what they see to be inviting, interesting, inspiring, excellent, and compelling.
We feel we can better accomplish this intentional environment by making some changes:
We want to serve great coffee
- This may seem trivial, but its really not. Coffee has become the social beverage of our culture. It is with this simple gesture that we want to make people feel welcome and relaxed. The family we described earlier coming in with all their craziness is able to experience this simple gesture of hospitality when someone hands them a cup of coffee. Even people that don’t drink coffee are able to observe hospitality given with smiling faces and hot coffee.
We want to be multi-generational in our approach
- We proclaim ourselves as a multi-generational church. Those that are greeting and welcoming people to our campus should reflect this truth about us. We desire to bring the energy of youth and the wisdom of maturity into our Sunday mornings- All with a smile on our faces and the joy of Christ in our hearts.
So we invite you to join us on this journey that starts in our parking lot. Whether this will be your first Sunday with us or your thousandth, we want you to feel welcome, comfortable, safe, and at the end of the day- satisfied in a God that gave up everything for you and solidified with a people you can belong to.