While most churches offer 'new member classes' and genuinely seek to welcome visitors, too often the end result is a rush to assimilate the newcomer into formal membership and all of the invitations to participation in committees, choirs, or fellowship groups that go along with it.
In Wide Welcome, Jessicah Krey Duckworth presents the stark differences between the established congregation, which cares for current members and congregational identity, and the disestablished one, intentionally equipped to facilitate the encounter between new and established members. By intentionally extending the time of newcomer inquiry and allowing their questions, insights, and experiences to reverberate through the entire congregation both they and the church are changed. Wide Welcome does far more than point out the faults and weaknesses in current practice. Duckworth intentionally lays out possible designs for newcomer welcome that are local and particular.
At a time when only nine percent of North American Mainline congregations actively and intentionally facilitate newcomer faith formation, Wide Welcome is an essential and timely book.
Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
How the Unsettling Presence of Newcomers Can Save the Church
Mind, Body & Spirit