Welcome to New City Church!

One of the things that we work hard at New City is forging a family; it’s not easy. Like a biological family, it takes dedicated time and loving intentionality. One of the ways we work hard at welcoming people into the family at New City starts with a very simple step on Sunday mornings when we see most of our visitors. 

The Connect Team serves as the tip of the spear in welcoming and connecting visitors to New City Church. Every Sunday they set up for the service, provide coffee and serve as the welcome team in order to help visitors know they are welcome and to get connected. But we go a step further in encouraging the church as a whole to welcome visitors into New City like you would welcome someone into your own home.

This Sunday we have the unique opportunity to invite Mercer students back to Macon and back to New City Church. We are excited to have our college students back and we want to make sure they know they have been missed and are welcome at New City Church! Here are three things we are asking you to do this Sunday…and even beyond.

Our worship doesn’t stop when the singing ends, or the preacher says, “Amen.” It continues as we greet, encourage, serve, pray for, exhort, and care for one another. God chooses to use people to edify his body (1 Corinthians 14:26). You and me. Isn’t that amazing?
— Desiring God
  1. Prepare Saturday – We have been attending church with kids for 17 years. Early on, I was not a pre-planner, so it made attending church with kids a challenge. Something I have learned and now practice every week is to prepare on Saturday. Simple, practical things like laying out clothes, thinking through breakfast, and setting an alarm have made all the difference. A blog post from TGC even suggests that you play hard on Friday night, but be boring and go to bed early on Saturday night. Now that we attend church for both services, arriving an hour before service starts and being one of the last families to leave the building, I can’t imagine not pre-planning for all six of our kids. We are not special or superhuman; we just practice pre-planning.
  2. Arrive 30 minutes before service starts – Typically, visitors arrive 15 minutes before service starts because it’s a new place and they want to get comfortable with unfamiliar surroundings. If your family arrives at the exact moment that the service starts or 15 minutes after the service starts, you will not have an opportunity to meet a visitor. Arrive 30 minutes early so that you have an opportunity to welcome new visitors into New City.
  3. Wait 30 minutes after the service – If a visitor has not made a connection with anyone, they will leave directly after the service is over. Think about it. It’s like going to watch a movie alone, when it’s over, you leave. But if you watch a movie with a group of friends, usually you hang out a bit and talk about it. Waiting 30 minutes after the service gives you an opportunity to meet someone new, invite them to lunch or answer any questions they may have about New City. The Connect Table is also a great place to direct them in order to learn more about our Missional Communities. 
We believe that we will best fulfill our mission and see this vision come to be as we live as a family of missionary servants, disciples of Jesus making disciples of Jesus.

Brandon Cox, Lead Pastor at Grace Hills Church, shared the following six important principles to consider when intentionally greeting new visitors and I think there are a few things we can learn from him.

  1. You are the first loving touch every guest will meet, which sets the stage for people to be open to life change. People will be more or less receptive to the teaching depending on how they were made to feel on the way in.
  2. Most guests will decide in the first few minutes if they will return, even before the music starts. It’s easy to walk into church if you’re there every week, but do you remember what it was like walking in for the first time, when you didn’t think you’d know anyone and wondered if anyone would want to know you?
  3. Your biggest goals are to 1.) eliminate awkwardness and 2.) encourage people. We worship together in a movie theater, so we have the advantage of knowing that people already know what it’s like to walk into a theater, but they’re still asking themselves questions like: Am I following their rules? Am I dressed appropriately? Will I be able to find the bathroom without asking?
  4. You are a tour guide who takes people to their destination, not a travel agent who sends them there. Walking parents and kids all the way to the next volunteer in the kids’ worship room is far better than pointing a finger and saying, “it’s down there on the right.” Walk with people and ask them questions on the way. Be genuinely interested in their lives.
  5. You can have a ministry of encouragement and even offer to have a brief prayer with people. Obviously, some first time guests may not be comfortable with such forwardness, but sometimes it may be highly appropriate to pray with guests before they enter the auditorium, especially if you’ve sensed a spiritual need in them. Keep it brief and don’t make things awkward, but communicate that you care.
  6. Everybody ought to receive a smile, a word of welcome, a loving touch (such as a handshake), and a bulletin on their way in. A smile disarms people and boosts their confidence. A word of welcome is common courtesy. A loving touch, such as a handshake or a brief hug, might be the only loving touch that guest receives this week. And a bulletin, at least in our case, is like a map for what’s going on and allows the guest to respond to the message and request more information.

Five Simple Ways to Serve on Easter

Easter weekend is one of the highest attended church gatherings of the year. This weekend is the celebration of salvation, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Times of worship and celebration at New City includes a Good Friday Service, an Easter Picnic and Egg Hunt, and of course two Easter services on Sunday.

At each of these gatherings, there will be unfamiliar faces, some infrequent attenders and some will be first time guests. We have an opportunity to make a Gospel impression on these folks by loving and serving well.

 Here are 5 ways that you can make an eternal difference this weekend.

  1.  Pray. Pray that the Spirit will give life to dead hearts. Pray for Pastors Andy and Keith as they prepare Good Friday and Easter sermons. Pray for those serving on Sunday as they give of their time. Pray that the Spirit will help you serve others as Jesus has served you.

  2.  Invite. Invite family, friends and co-workers to attend the events this weekend. Invite the coworker or client you have been developing a relationship with for the sake of the Gospel. Invite a neighbor who you have been developing a friendship with. Invite the family member who has drifted away from church. Invite your fellow college student who is still looking for a church home.

  3.  Connect. Arrive 30 minutes before the service starts so that you have time to get your family situated and be available to greet new visitors. Look for people that you may not know, unfamiliar faces. They may have been a part of New City for years, or they may have come for the first time, that’s ok. Introduce yourself and if they are new, invite them to sit with you, walk them over to the Connect Table to get information on New City or introduce them to your MC Leader.

  4.  Accommodate. Park at the most distant spot to free up parking for visitors. Sit towards the front of the Service and towards the middle of the row in order to free up the more easily accessible seats on the ends of the row and in the back. Don’t leave any open seats between your family members or friends, sit close in order to free up seats.

  5. Follow Up. After meeting a visitor, invite them to your MC, exchange information and follow up with them during the week. Facebook is an easy way to get connected with someone, so send them a friend request. Show them that you care by moving beyond the “Welcome to New City” greeting and invite them into the life of New City Church. 

Remember that our vision is to see the gospel transform everything within our reach - ourselves, our church, our city and the world. Remember that our mission is to help people live in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that we will best fulfill this mission and see this vision come to be as we live as a family of missionary servants, disciples of Jesus making disciples of Jesus.

These are five easy ways to make a difference in the lives of others this weekend. These are simple but powerful ways of serving others, so consider adopting these acts of service as a normal part of your Sunday morning.