I have the great privilege of visiting a variety of Christian worship services any given weekend. And, for the most part, I am truly blessed.
Yet, I do wonder about a certain worship service ritual: the first words from the platform are typically, “Welcome! We are so glad you are here to worship with us today.”
Such a statement is like nails on the chalkboard for a guy like me, and my worshipful attitude often leaves me for the next 2-3 minutes. For after hearing this ‘welcome’, I almost always reply by asking (under my breath, of course), “Who is We, and Who is You, and…who is Us? It’s such a bummer for me to hear this in a worship venue that I spend way too much time trying to figure out why someone in leadership would say such a thing, every single week.
Now, if this person is talking exclusively to visitors (like me), then it makes a little more sense. The “we” is either the worship team or the entire congregation; and the “you” would be me, the visitor.
But if this “welcome” is also meant for the member or regular attender of the congregation (and it usually is), then we need to rethink what we are saying.
The unintended consequence of such a “welcome” is to give the subtle message that the Christian chasm between those standing on stage and those sitting in the pew is not going away anytime soon. And that’s not very welcoming.
So, after we have let our visitors know we are glad they are present, I propose an introductory worship welcome more like this, “Welcome! Isn’t it good to worship together this morning?”
And I would reply, “Yes, it is very good.”
Steve Logan, Founder of Mappings