You’ve taken a big step in deciding to walk through the doors of our church this weekend. Making the choice to get ready, get out of the house on time, and enter an unfamiliar church most likely took a lot of effort, thought, and courage. This post is for you, our guest, who has taken your valuable time to join us.
We recognize this choice to enter our doors may not have been an easy one to make. Perhaps you are seeking to fulfill a spiritual call that has been on your heart for a while and you know it’s time to give church a try. Perhaps you are leaving a hurtful situation from another church and looking for new life. Or perhaps you have just moved to the area and are leaving a wonderful church family behind and want desperately to find Christian community again.
If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely visited Bethel and gotten a feel for who we are. You’ve worshiped with us and experienced a service. We hope you felt warmly welcomed and walked away with a positive experience from your time here. Our hope is that you continue coming back and Bethel might be a place you will consider making your church home.
So, what’s next? How do you learn more and see if this is a good fit for you and your family? We want to address two big questions people have when they first attend, and hopefully these answers will help guide you as you take your next steps at Bethel.
This church is big! How can I get to know people and make friends? There are so many people and it feels overwhelming.
We understand and have been there too. Sometimes it seems like everyone knows someone else and we are left standing off to the side by ourselves. One of the goals in our Connections Ministry is to not have people standing alone. We truly want everyone to feel noticed and welcomed and do our best to greet everyone, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. We hope you will keep coming back and try these very helpful ways to meet people. Here are 5 effective ways to meet others at Bethel:
- Visit the Welcome Center.
This is important because we can be sure to get your name from a connection card and know you are here. This allows us to invite you to upcoming events or classes. Our volunteers who work at the Welcome Center love to meet people and genuinely want to learn more about you. They will not only answer your questions, but they will be happy to show you around and introduce you to more people.
- Attend a Guest Reception, Newcomer Lunch, or other events.
Each campus offers different events to help guests get more information on next steps and meet some of our pastors and staff. As staff members, we love these days because we get to put faces to names and meeting in person and having conversations is really meaningful for us! We want to meet and spend time with both our new guests and our regular Bethel attenders. Meeting face to face has often made a huge difference in helping our staff learn more about you and we have seen many people who came as guests to a Guest Reception become very active members in our church over time. Guest events also give you an opportunity to meet some other people who are new and possibly make a few new friends in the process.
- Join a Small Group
You may have heard the phrase, “Life is better done is circles than in rows.” Small groups can truly be a game-changer in your experience of feeling connected at Bethel. These small groups of people will become a circle of friends where you learn and grow in your spiritual walk while experiencing life together. Small groups are one of the most impactful opportunities for becoming better connected.
- Attend a Bible Study or Other Ministry
As you attend and become part of a regular ministry such as a Bible study, a Singles Group, Celebrate Recovery, or Verge Student Ministry, you will continue to meet others and gain new relationships as you grow in your spiritual walk. All of these opportunities provide a great way to feel more connected at Bethel.
- Consider Serving on a Team
All of the ministries we offer at Bethel are made up of talented and committed volunteers. Serving on a team is a great way to use your gifts and talents to serve others. It allows you the opportunity to meet others who serve alongside you. Great friendships can be formed through these volunteer groups, especially as you are often serving alongside people who may have common interests with you.
This church is big! Will there ever be a place for me to serve and fit in here? I’m guessing everything is already covered and there’s not a need for me.
When our family first started attending Bethel, we had come from a small church where we were involved in just about everything. If you’ve come from a church like that, I’m sure you can relate and understand how many hats you wore there, and how connected and needed you felt. I can remember leaning over to my husband in a service when we were new to Bethel and saying, “There will never be a place for me here,” meaning everything seemed so smooth and there would be no opportunities for me to start serving and make a real contribution using my gifts. Well, I was wrong. It took a little time, but I kept serving and became more and more involved in areas where my gifting was utilized. I hope you hear me when I say, there is a place for you here. God wants you to use the gifts you’ve been given to serve where you can and to expand his kingdom. We want to help you find those areas, and as you continue to connect with others and grow, other opportunities may open for you as well.
We’re so glad you’re here! Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more. Please visit our Welcome Center at any time for further information on taking your next steps. Also, bethelweb.org is a great resource for events, ministries, and contact information. Again, Welcome to Bethel!