Widening the welcome of your church – Fred Bernhard, Steve Clapp

March 20, 2007


From the Back Cover
Can teaching people to share coffee and other forms of hospitality help a congregation grow? Coffee wont do it alone, but biblical hospitality will. Thats what happened at the Oakland Church where worship attendance grew by 19% and Sunday School attendance grew by 36% in three months. And the church has continued to grow!

If thinking about a congregation which had experienced rapid growth creates for you the mental image of a huge physical facility with dozens of creative programs in a major metropolitan area, you will be disappointed by this book. The physical facilities and the program of the church certainly have expanded to keep pace with the membership, but demographics do not explain what has happened. The Oakland congregation is located in an Ohio farming community.

Pastor Fred Bernhard, convinced that hospitality is an essential part of the Gospel, developed a comprehensive model of a welcoming congregation which has had dramatic impact. While hospitality is not itself an evangelism strategy, the congregation which embraces its practice almost always grows in vitality and in numbers!

Fred joined forces with Steve Clapp to create a book which shows the Oakland experience in the context of strategies which have proven effective around the country in truly welcoming new people into existing congregations. Biblical hospitality can be the answer for many local churches which have felt blocked on attracting potential members and on truly assimilating new members.

About the Author
Fred Bernhard continues to be the pastor of the Oakland (OH) Church, where the comprehensive hospitality model discussed in “Widening the Welcome” was developed.Steve Clapp has outhored or coauthored over thiry books on various aspects of congregational life, including “Reaching the Forgotten,” “Sharing Living Water,” and “Reaching Out through Christian Education.”