I recently walked into a restaurant very early in the lunch hour. Looking around the room I saw... well, nothing. Lots of open tables. But still I was told "give me just a couple of minutes and we'll have a table for you." I could see at least 100 seating options... but still I waited.
As I sat down I wiped bread crumbs from the table into the floor and thought "This doesn't make sense. There's no way there have been other customers in here for lunch already." Of course, the crumbs had to have been left over from the night before... which meant the tables hadn't been wiped off. I then learned that the tea was still brewing and the rolls were not warm enough to serve yet.
The bottom-line: The restaurant and its staff were not ready for me. They weren't expecting customers... at least, not a customer arriving as early as I did.
I'm thinking there's a pretty solid application here to church? Is it apparent that when we open the doors of our church buildings we are expecting new people? Here are some simple ways to communicate "Welcome! We've been expecting you!"
+ Leave the most convenient parking spaces for guests.
+ Move to the center of the row, leaving the aisle seats open.
+ Greet people around you... even if you're not an "official" greeter.
When a church's guests show up will they think: "Yikes! I've crashed a party I wasn't invited to attend." Or will it be: "Wow! They act like they are expecting me... and they seem glad I'm here."