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Debbie’s Ten Feet

October 10, 2016

Debbie Lappin is an active member of the church where I get to be one of the pastors. Yesterday morning she told me she’d written something for me to share with you. It’s my honor to do so right now, and Thank You, Debbie —

10ft Story

A few weeks ago we had a Welcome Team meeting. Pastor Joe handed out several sheets with ideas on how to welcome guests, make them feel more comfortable, and encourage them to return and worship with us. The ideas were very comfortable, polite, and easy to accomplish.

One of my favorites was #10. The 10 foot rule–greet everyone, guest, visitor, or member within ten feet of you.

Doesn’t that sound easy?! It sounds very easy to me so I decided to try it.

Several years ago when I became a welcome team member, I felt I was given permission to speak to anyone at church. It didn’t matter if I knew them or not. It didn’t matter if they were a first time visitor or had been there several times or several years. It was my “job” to welcome them.

One time I greeted and welcomed a tall man, dressed casually, thinking he was a traveling visitor. I found out in fact he was our church district superintendent! I was embarrassed and yet glad I had spoken to him in case no one else had noticed.

Since thinking about the “ten foot rule” I have made two observations.

The first is you don’t have to use it just in church. You can greet and speak to people anywhere. And I’ve started doing that too. In the grocery store,  passing someone as you enter a fast food place, getting out of the car in a parking lot, walking down the hall in school or a hospital, even your family in the kitchen. People respond. They say hi back or smile. Who knows what they’re thinking!

The second observation is I don’t have enough time in church to speak to everyone in my “ten foot” area! If I’m in the front pew area I can’t possibly get to that couple I don’t recognize and greet them. Or there’s Ralph…has anyone spoken to him yet? Look way over there by the coffee, it’s Alice and I need to ask her about her granddaughter. Then Paul stops me to ask about next weeks meeting and I miss a few more people!

So I realize I need help. Please, please! Greet everyone, visitor, member or friend within “10 feet”. Just say Hi and wish them a good day!




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  1. Naomi Roberts permalink

    Hey, Joe.

    Can I get a copy of your greeting suggestions?



  2. Debbie permalink

    Thanks, Joe. Now I want to take yesterday’s sermon to heart and contact everyone who wasn’t in church!


  3. Darla permalink

    I’d like a copy of ‘the list’ too. This just reminds me to remember those who grace the door of our church’s do this because of something inside of them. Out of obligation? responsibility? or because they ‘just want to see if someone really cares about them’?
    It’s because of two people who remembered we were there a previous week that we have continued to return every week since. You never know who you will be entertaining or saying hello to or who’s life you will be making a difference in.


  4. Bev Elvi permalink

    Great thoughtful commentary. You are a shinning example of how Methodists (Christians) should show the world their faith, doing as Jesus would have us do in His name.


  5. Bev Elvi permalink

    This is a great commentary. It demonstrates how Methodists (Christians) should treat one another. Debbie, you are a shinning example of showing others how to be a true follower of Jesus.


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