How welcoming is your parish? It can be difficult to tell as an insider.
We have visited a number of well-meaning parishes that prided themselves as being particularly welcoming (and regularly announced that they were). Unfortunately, that's not what outsiders experienced when they visited.
It is difficult to get hospitality right, since the stronger our community becomes, the more we have to work on avoiding cliques, challenging our assumptions, and focusing outward. This is the heart of ministry. It takes regular, intentional effort to be a welcoming parish. It requires getting into the shoes of outsiders and involving the whole community in this effort.
Many times we only have one chance to make an impression on a person dipping their toe back into the church to see if they want to return. Below are some helpful, practical resources for you to pursue this tricky aspect of ministry.