Gym Rats and Church Mice: The Newbie

The newbie looks the same, even if the last thing we want to label them as is a “newbie.”  Most gyms and churches would deem them to be guests.  They have not been there many times before (perhaps never before), and it shows.  They don’t know the culture or the manner in which things are done.

Maybe they don’t know how to properly use the weight machines.  Perhaps they do weird things with the cables like spinning their arms in circles with 60 pounds of weights.  Or, in some churches, they carry their coffee inside the worship area, sit in a seat that is usually occupied by someone else, or they do not know to stand during the music.
Whatever they do, or do not do, it is important that those in the environments, be it the gym or especially the church, realize that we they have something to offer the guests – kindness and courtesy.  They have the potential to help the first-timer come to love the church, and embrace the community of faith, or to respond disdainfully.  They have the potential to sway the guest’s opinion of Christ, simply by the way they act towards them.
The truth of the matter is this: if there are not some first-time guests at your gym or at your church, it is dying.  It may seem and feel healthy.  It may be vibrant on the inside, but if it does not draw outsiders in, it will cease to be.  Tragically, I’ve seen both gyms and churches close their doors for this very reason.
We need first-time guests.  What do you do in order to help them acclimate to their new surroundings?  What can you do differently?
What other parallels can you think of regarding the different kind of people that walk through our doors?

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