Thom S. Rainer designed We Want You Here (a companion to Becoming a Welcoming Church) as a gift for churches to give visitors.

Most church attendees are familiar with “welcome kits” containing everything from candy to pens to coffee mugs.  Rainer suggests giving each visitor his book (which B&H Publishers offers bulk discounts on).

The book opens with a quick explanation:

“I get it. Many of you who read this will think, I don’t think this was the guy we heard preach last Sunday—was it? No, you are not crazy. I am not the local church pastor in your community. But I am connected to the church you visited.”

Rainer goes on to briefly mention how all followers of Christ are connected to each other and how he leads an online community of pastors: “I learned that the pastors in our online community are very concerned about finding the most effective way to say to guests who visit their church…‘We Want You Here.’ So I wrote this book as a way to help those of us who care about church guests.”

The rest of the book goes on as if it were being written from the perspective of the church, but it’s hard for me to get past the fact that the book is not directly from the church. If I am visiting a church, I don’t want a welcome from someone connected to the church but from the church itself. The content itself is good; I was just left wondering if a book is the best delivery method.

I’d recommend, at the very least, that churches who use the book include a welcome letter from a pastor that mentions why they felt the book’s message is valuable to the recipient.

Church leaders who are a little hesitant to hand out the book may still find the book helpful to read. The contents may inspire ideas for other welcoming messages. Here’s a look at the table of contents:

  • Chapter 1: We Really Want You Here
  • Chapter 2: This is Not a Place for Perfect People
  • Chapter 3: We Would Like to Get to Know You
  • Chapter 4: This is Where Families Grow Strong
  • Chapter 5: Getting to Know the One Who Made Us
  • Chapter 6: Come Make a Difference with Us
  • Chapter 7: Thank You for Being Here

Before diving into this book, however, I’d recommend first reading Becoming a Welcoming Church. Both books were released at the same time and intended to be used together. Becoming a Welcoming Church is a valuable guide filled with ways churches can become more welcoming, whereas We Want You Here is one of many possible tools churches may use toward that goal.

(Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed are my own.)

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