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This past weekend a friend attended church with me for the first time. Actually, he attended church as a child but hadn’t been in church for the past 18 years. It was fascinating experiencing a weekend gathering with someone you care about and whom you desperately want to have a good enough visit that he will want to come back.

Here are a few observations:

  1.  Humor matters. Any time my friend was able to laugh, I knew that he was enjoying the service and that his defenses were down.
  2. The quality of the music matters. Because music was at least 40% of the service, it could either draw my friend in or drive him away.
  3. Explanations matter. Explanations about offering, communion and baptisms. If you don’t explain, then a guest has no idea what is going on.
  4. Friendliness matters. When I introduced my friend to friends I already had at church it meant the world to me when they warmly welcomed him.

My friend had a fantastic experience at RiverTree. I was proud to call RiverTree home. It was incredibly healthy for me to walk through a weekend gathering through the eyes of a guest who really matters to me and more importantly, a guest who really matters to God.