Expected but Unannounced – trick or treating & welcoming church guests

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Trick or Treat DoorI enjoy trick or treating with my kids.

With four kids we’ve collected enough treats over the years to make Willy Wonka proud and his dentist father terrified.

If trick or treating isn’t your thing, I understand, just hang with me for a few sentences.

Trick or treating is an engagement in which expected visitors show up at a person’s house unannounced. 

That sounds a lot like a church guest…expected but unannounced. For that reason I think there are a few things churches can glean from trick or treating when it comes to welcoming guests.

Two Kinds of Welcome

I have stood at the curb many times as my children were greeted, and I’ve noticed two kinds of greeters – those who leave the porch-light on and those who wait in the front yard.

Porch-light greeters work from the assumption that trick or treating involves knocking on a closed door and then waiting for it to open. Tradition is on the side of the porch-light greeter.

Wait-in-the-front-yard greeters work from the assumption that trick or treaters may be deterred by a closed door or a delayed answer. Innovation is on the side of the front yard greeter.

It’s not that porch-light traditions are wrong.  It’s that culture has shifted and people are not as comfortable engaging through a closed door anymore.

Porch-light greeters can’t hear the sidewalk conversations outside their homes as parents debate whether or not their children should approach the door.

This is where innovation always trumps tradition. Front-yard greeters have replaced the porch light with themselves. They hear the sidewalk conversations because they are out there.

Is your church taking a porch light or front yard approach to welcoming guests?

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