What Volunteers Can Do that Preachers Can’t


It’s easy for me to see what needs to be fixed in the churches I visit. I hate to admit it, but I’m a critic. I’d like to think that I’m a nice one, but I’m a critic nonetheless. After all, people don’t pay me to pat them on the back and tell them good job. Church leaders want to know what’s not working well and what can be done to be more effective for the kingdom.

However, my favorite part of any secret shopper visit is to celebrate what’s done well. And nothing makes my heart happier than when I run into volunteers who love God and serve their church with a smile and open arms. This past weekend I was able to reconnect with two of the best volunteers I’ve ever encountered in all my secret shopper visits.

Linda and her husband Harrod have been greeting at First Baptist Church Jacksonville for decades. They greeted me during my first visit to the church. They took the time to walk me around, answered all my questions, ask me to sit with them once they realized that I was alone and even offered to take me to lunch after the service. I couldn’t help but just love them. It’s been three years since our first encounter and they are still serving with smiles, open arms and hearts welcoming newcomers and making them feel like long-time family friends.

Every time I visit a new church, I secretly hope to find someone as hospitable as the McNeils. Honestly, I don’t remember one point of the sermon from my first visit, but I remember how good I felt about being there because of how well I was treated by Linda and Harrod.

Looking back in your life. Did you have anyone who either made you feel like home, or the opposite during your first visit to a church?

  • Steve Lauthern

    Maurilio,My first Sunday at my current church was so unfriendly, I almost didn't come back. Thankfully I met a greeter who stuck with me and introduced me to people who are now my friends.

  • Anonymous

    Quit your crying. People should go to church to meet God and not be befriended. God is first and if you happen to make friends than that's great, but I'm tired of people saying that churches should be more friendly. Churches should be more holy.

  • Debbie Kelly

    We are the body of Christ. We do not worship in isolation. There's a reason why God wants us to assemble together instead of worship in private. That reason is because we draw strength from each other. I hope your idea of being holy is not "Thou shalt not be friendly in church".

  • I agree with Debbie's comment to "Anonymous". I don't see why friendly and holy have to be mutually exclusive. "Anonymous'" lead in "Quit your crying" doesn't sound either friendly or holy. It certainly doesn't sound loving.Our church has a couple at first service, Doc and Kathy, that do the greeting. They are very friendly and loving and welcoming to everybody. They greet everybody and make sure that everybody gets a hug, especially people like me who don't really hug.

  • My Name is Sharon, I lived in Brentwood many years ago Where I attended The Lords Chaple. I was just 14, The experience of people were so wonderful, but the best part was the feeling of GOD holding me. I saw for the first time in my life, kids my age in prayer and worship, lifting their hands to GOD. I still remember many in the church and our youth group was so amazing. This is an experience I have kept well alive in my heart, As I am in search for so many of the people that went there too. Connie Smith sit by me the first time I went, and Brother Moore and Pixie and Bruce n Jill were the Pastors of the Church and Mitchel was the song director, I have been told that he has his own church. So if anyone was there in the mid to late 70's please contact me. AS God is moving me to locate my old and Wonderful Friends. A seed planted and Grew. I was best friends With Ron n Lee Gatlin, Key, Randy THompson, Amy grant, and so many others. Oh how I wish I could find that type of service again. GOD is so GOOD! email me if you know any of these people or any one that would have information about The Lords Chaple. Sharoncoles@gmail.com God Bless

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