I believe many churches do a good job of welcoming new people, introducing them to others, helping them find a seat and so forth, all before worship begins.
But I think one of the loneliest parts of worship, as a guest, is right after the benediction, when everyone’s in the a hurry to go back home, get in the car, make the brunch time for a restaurant, scurry off into meetings, etc. The guests are left to fend for themselves… at least that’s been my experience.
I have to say, though, our church seems to be good at the welcoming part before and after the worship service.
I also don’t like it when I’m visiting a church and the pastor makes all the new comers stand up and introduce themselves. It’s really a terrifying moment for me, and am always wishing that I can blend in and no one notice that I’m new (hard to do when I’m the only minority in the room..)
I also find the passing of the peace awkward. But that’s more on a personal level than anything else. I do think it’s nice and necessary (albeit, forced at times) to see who is worshiping with you.
These are the random thoughts I had today, while watching the rain fall on a cold SoCal day. Back to “work.”