One of the saddest things that I hear from people is when they say that they don't go to my church any more because no one reached out to them. That sucks. I know it to be true. But it's one of those things where I don't know what to do about it. For one, it's the nature of large groups. After the service, I want to say hi to people that have never been there before, but I also want to talk a little bit to my friends, because I want to maintain some of the relationships that I built here. And I also know that no one is intentionally trying to ignore people that walk into our church for the first time.
Of course, it doesn't help that I can't recall people for the life of me. I could talk to the same person multiple times and I may not readily remember them. Or I get caught in that terrible thing where I say:
"Hey, I haven't seen you here before. Is this your first Sunday here?"
And then to theirs and my dismay, they respond, "No, I have been coming for three months. I met you four times now."
"...yeah...about that...good to talk to you again, brother in Christ."
Names as they have been, are lost on me. It's bad that I am the one that new people talk to. I mean, I try to meet new people because I know that people in general have a hard time going to talk to new people, so you need to get someone who doesn't mind putting themselves on the line to meet them. I wish new people could realize that people have a hard time meeting new people and that it's not that our church is trying to be clichy. Fuck.
It breaks my heart. I want new people to come and feel welcome. I would love it if a new person just jumped in and joined a conversation. I wish that it was more than a handful of people who greet new people (and I don't always do it). What can I do? Should I just ignore my friends completely and just focus on meeting new people. And then once I make a friend, I can then just ignore them and get back to focusing on meeting new people. That way I have a bunch of shallow relationships with everyone and then the new people will think that I am only superficially interesting in being their friend and then they leave anyway. Damn it.
I am swearing more than usual because this thing is the most frustrating thing for me. I know the people at our church are great people. And I love the things that the church stand for, but having that idea conveyed is not happening as well as it should. Mother father Chinese dentist!
So, dear people who may visit my church in the future, please come talk to me, I am genuinely interested in getting you to meet new people. And I'll try to remember your name. No guarantees. I don't even give that guarantee to my mother.