When was the last time you walked into a room and didn't know anyone? I encourage you to experience this at least once a year. I've been the "new girl" this past month. My preacher husband is the new pastor of a wonderful church. So, I guess to be more precise, I've been the "new preacher's wife." It has been good for me, as it has helped me to get a taste of what it may feel like for a first time visitor to our church. Granted, I have not had the true "new girl" experience, as church members have been so welcoming to me and my family---but, I feel that I have experienced that "new girl" feeling.
Obviously, not everyone can move to a new city for that "new girl" experience, but we all go out of town several times a year. I challenge you to visit a church while you are away on vacation or visiting family. Get a taste of what it's like to be "the new girl" (or guy!). To get the true experience you'll need to attend Sunday School and the worship service. Yep. Be all in.
Soon afterward evaluate how the visit went. How did it feel? Were you made to feel welcome? Did people even speak to you? Did they get past, "hello"? Were you invited to go out to lunch? How were your children welcomed into their classrooms? Was there a security procedure in practice that made you feel more comfortable about leaving your child? A lot of these questions never cross our minds when we have been attending the same church for years. But these are all important things to consider in your own church. When you get back to your home church, remember the way you felt as "the new girl" and put into practice the things that will help visitors to feel welcome!