All women who come to Mom's Connection should feel welcomed, loved, appreciated, and feel like they have found a landing place among friends. Friends that make them feel like a valuable part of the group. Friends who have been through or are experiencing a lot of the same trials and triumphs. Friends that they feel comfortable enough with that they can share their thoughts and feelings and know that their friends will rejoice with them through the "ups" and pray with and for them through the "downs".
To be able to build these friendships we must first be given the opportunity. Every new lady who visits with us is a new and awesome opportunity to make a new friend. The new lady's first impression of us as a group is make or break. This impression will determine whether she comes back to join us, brings a friend or two to meet us...or whether she writes us off and moves on.
In effect, we have to "Greet Her Right the First Time". This phrase is one of the two new motto's that is going to be part of the Hospitality Team's vision for the future. The second phrase is "Hospitality is Every one's Responsibility".
Let me first explain to you what greeting her "right" looks like. Let's call our new lady "Tammy". As Tammy walks into the building she will be greeted by two ladies at the door. These ladies will then introduce themselves and introduce her to yet another lady. This lady she has just been introduced to will be her taker. Her taker is charged with making Tammy feel welcome and secure. The first part of making her feel secure is letting her know that her children will be well taken care of while she is in the topic meeting so the first place the taker will take her to is the childcare rooms. Once her children are settled in then her taker will lead her back down to the meeting room and will show her where she can get refreshments. The taker should not leave her side until she has been settled into a topic study and met her care circle leader. The entire time that the taker and Tammy are enjoying their refreshments they should be talking as well. The taker should take every opportunity to introduce her to ladies she may have something in common with. Also, Tammy should be introduced to the Hospitality Coordinator (myself) and the Care Circle Coordinator (Donnis Lloyd). I will then give Tammy a welcome bag that has a registration form, hospitality cross bookmark, recipe cards and some other goodies. The taker should make sure that she fills out this registration form because this form contains contact information for the new member. This is the only way we have of getting in contact with her and letting her know that we enjoyed her company.
It is absolutely crucial that each new lady Tammy meets greet her with a smile and a handshake. This is where our second motto for Hospitality comes in with, "Hospitality is Every one's Responsibility". Being hospitable does not end with that initial topic meeting. She will receive a phone call from either myself or Robin Coburn (our Assistant Hospitality Coordinator) and will also receive an email from me welcoming her to the group. When she returns to Mom's Connection for the meetings after that very first meeting she should be greeted as warmly as she was at the first meeting. I encourage you to write down her name when you meet her that first time so you will remember it and try to greet her using her name when she returns. This will make her feel that she made a positive impression and that you care enough to remember her. She will probably not remember the names of all the people that she was introduced to at the first meeting but she will be well on her way to getting to know us better and if we share about ourselves she'll share about herself.
In Mom's Connection no lady ever needs to feel she is alone. If a mom is sitting by herself and nobody is taking an interest in her then we have failed as her friends and as a community. Our mission statement for Mom's Connection states that we are a ministry to nurture all mothers and we are to reach out to each other with friendship, encouragement and support. If she is being offered friendship, encouragement and support then she will, in turn, offer that to other ladies that may come in to visit with us for their first topic meeting and our group will continue to grow. Then we will reach our ultimate goal and reach as many women as we possibly can and connect them to God, grow them in faith and then we will see them and their families become participants in His kingdom.
I challenge you at the next topic meeting and during our summer events to either sit beside or strike up a conversation with another mom that is either new to the group or that maybe you don't know that much about. The possibilities for awesome new friendships are endless!