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April 22 , 2009

Wide Welcome

How the Unsettling Presence of Newcomers Can Save the Church


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.

The disestablished congregations, she says, gains purpose and identity in the task of relating to the newcomer, and by doing so engages the world in powerful new ways. 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.

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