|Church Street United Methodist Church, Knoxville, TN|
It's funny how we settled on this church. Cindy, who grew up in this area, had always wanted to visit this church because of its beauty and prominence in Knoxville. She had mentioned to me that, before we chose a church to attend regularly, she would like to visit just to get the flavor of the place. We had given no real thought to actually joining because it is located downtown, which seemed so far away---especially with other nice churches located all around our home.
|Beautiful Stained Glass Windows|
So---six weeks ago we drove to Church Street Church for the early Sunday morning service. I was surprised when I discovered that it only takes 11 minutes to get to the church from our home. That, plus the fact that everyone was friendly while we were there, made us agree that this would be the right place for us. We plan on officially joining in a few weeks.
|Procession at the Beginning of Sunday Worship|
For the past few Sundays we have been trying to find just the right Sunday School class. My friends, if you have not gone through this drill recently, you probably have forgotten how utterly taxing and befuddling the process can be. Consider these factors:
---There are 18 adult classes
---We selected three to visit. We tried to choose those that concentrate on scripture-based instruction
---The first class we attended had everything we want. Everyone was friendly and we came away with the warm fuzzies. Only consideration: Cindy and I are 10-15 years younger than most of the class members. We are concerned about a generation gap.
---The second class we visited was basically our age range, but cliquish. When we entered, only 3 or 4 people introduced themselves to us. Only two people actually talked to me before class. Everyone else stood around in groups of four to six people and conversed with each other. Few people wore name tags, which is very helpful to newcomers. We were asked to give our contact information---phone number and E-Mail addresses---but we have not been contacted regarding membership or given an invitation to ask questions about the class.
---The third class we visited (yesterday) was our age range. People were friendly. But no one asked for contact information.
Each class has its pros and cons. The class with the older membership was actually the best-run class. The members were the friendliest and most outgoing. But---there is that age difference, and Cindy and I don't know how big a factor that could be in relating to everyone. We are praying about it.
The second class reminded me of the class we were members of in Texas. It is fairly large. I was somewhat turned off by the constant referrals to members of the class and how important everyone seems to be. "See that man over there? He is a federal judge. And that lady over there is a doctor. And The fellow over by the window is CEO of XYZ Company." I started getting the feeling that maybe I wasn't important enough to belong in that class. Ha.
The third class had an attendance of about 20. But if they didn't care enough to take down our names and E-Mail addresses, do they really want new members?
To anyone experiencing a new church and going into Sunday school classes where everyone and everything is unknown, there is a certain amount of stress. I understand that choosing a class and trying to fit in is a process, but the process could sure be helped by a recognition on the part of class members that visitors need to be welcomed by all and made to feel at home by everyone.
And it wouldn't hurt to call the visitors the following week and let them know they are wanted. If they are, of course.