The Rev. Catherine Caimano asserts that when church members consider themselves “family,” they can make it very difficult for newcomers to feel at home. From Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership:
We are more like families than we realize, in ways that are not always good. Like families, churches can be very close-knit groups, with a select few people who aren’t really all that excited about bringing other people in. What group has higher barriers to entry than a family? You can’t just wander in. You can only join through birth, adoption or marriage.
No wonder we don’t act like we’re expecting guests. No wonder, even in a time of decline, we’re not putting out the welcome mat. Too many churches are like actual families, slowly bringing in and incorporating new members but rarely going out looking for them.
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