Jesus welcomes us. We welcome others. It’s simple. But making a church a truly welcoming place is a bit more involved than putting down a mat by the front door. Like everything else, it requires team work. People direct traffic and parking, and as they do, they smile and wave. Greeters hold the door open and extend a handshake to people as they walk in from the parking lot. And now another friendly group meet and assist people as they step through the doors, helping to answer questions and direct visitors in a happy, bustling church on a busy Sunday morning.
A fresh start to the Welcome Center is taking shape at Sovereign Grace right inside the front doors and even as its duties and activities come more sharply into focus, they’re also recruiting. “We’re looking for new members to assist and answer questions,” says Julie Moon, who heads up the Welcome Center. “Walking into a new church can be a bit disorienting,” Julie says, “We’re here to help with that, and eventually, we hope to have enough people serving where, if we need to walk a new member or a visitor over to registration at children’s ministry, we’ll be able to do that.”
Meanwhile, old friends Al Paton and Ed Wilson have teamed up to build a Welcome Center desk and console. Al is a lifelong carpenter, having started as a teenager at the trade in 1975. Ed is a retired third-generation Texas bricklayer and is an accomplished amateur woodworker with 62 years of experience. The two have teamed up on other projects, such as building the drum platform and installing the beautiful oak bookshelves in the bookstore, so a Welcome Center desk seemed like a natural for them.
“It blesses me to see our people welcoming others seeking Christ,” Al says, adding, “Ed and I just want to see to it that our Welcome volunteers are more comfortable and have a nicer surface to work on than a folding table.”
“Al has it exactly right,” Ed says. “Welcoming is important and anyone who takes part in ministry here will tell you that it’s about working together. With Tom Machowski, we came up with the idea for the desk and took it to Al. Sovereign Grace member Bob O’Hara heard about the project, and his company Rhoads & O’Hara graciously donated all the plywood for it. Al cut out the parts and then we took them to my shop for assembly, sanding and an application of polyurethane.”
Ed and Al hope to have the Welcome Center desk ready by Thanksgiving. But whether it’s ready on time or not, is less important than the fact that everyone who comes here will be welcomed warmly. “Welcoming others in Christ’s name is what we’re all about,” Julie says.