No matter what your affiliation or worship style, most visitors – or even potential visitors – have formed a lasting impression about your congregation long before the service even starts. This workshop will help you reflect on and assess your church’s most crucial ministry when it comes to connecting with new members – the ministry of first impressions and visitor hospitality. Through presentations, conversations and exercises, we will discuss concrete ways to create a welcoming environment at your church that both entices new people to come and removes the barriers so they are more likely to become repeat visitors.
Prof. Scott Thumma’s most recent book, The Other 80 Percent: Turning Your Church’s Spectators into Active Participants (Jossey-Bass 2011, coauthored with Warren Bird), is a practical research-based work that argues for seeing the marginally involved members of a church as a mission field. His earlier book Beyond Megachurch Myth (Jossey-Bass 2008), coauthored with Dave Travis, documents his 20 years of studying the megachurch phenomenon. He has researched and written on evangelicalism, the rise of nondenominational churches, the impact of the Internet on church dynamics, and homosexuality and religious life.
Scott is the director of the Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, the distance education program and Hartford Institute’s church survey service. He co-directs the Insights into Religion Portal (www.religioninsights.org) for the Lilly Endowment, and consults with churches and religious organizations on congregational revitalization, planning and new technologies.
Location: Hartford Seminary Meeting Room, 77 Sherman St., Hartford, CT 06105