Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finessing the church invites

So a big part of the stress is figuring out the church member thing.  I pastor a large-small church (around 150), that is very tightly knit.  I sense that most of them figure everyone will be invited.  And being the kind of family church they are, my guess is that if everyone is invited, everyone will come.  

Now, I really do not like the idea of inviting some and not all, I don't think I could deal with the guilt of who we didn't invite.  And just like with most things, if you invite A then you really should invite B, because they both took you to lunch that one time, and if B is going, then certainly you need to invite C because they share a pew and one would know the other wasn't going and would assuredly be hurt....etc...etc...etc.  

So, I sat down with the church directory and went through name by name and wrote down all those that I thought were likely to show if invited.  They are the most active members, the ones that are there every Sunday and attend most "extra" church programs as it is.  I think there might be 75 or so on that list. Of those, we are particularly close to maybe 25 of them.  But, like I said, if you invite, A, then you need to invite B and if B, then C.  So it seems like we need to invite 75 of them.

The added trouble then becomes...how?  Do we put it as a general church invitation in a newsletter?  Maybe...that way we are sure to cover everyone and not inadvertently leave someone out.  But, the problem is there are more people who receive the newsletter than come to church, so would we have added folks we didn't anticipate and are not particularly close to?  And, if we have limited space, how do we deal with reservations from an open invitation?  

Or, do we send personalized invitations to those 75 people we think would come?  Will we then get in trouble because we didn't send that same invitation to an inactive person?  That helps us nail down numbers and assure ourselves that we have invited those who are most important, but could lead to exclusion.

Also, normal etiquette dictates that if we invite a single person, we also invite a guest, which is all well and good for our single friends, but what if those 30 church people who are single also invite a guest (because etiquette dictates they can...) or how do you tactfully say, you are invited, but please don't invite extra people?  

Or, what if the parents we invite, who are active, decide this is a good time to bring their kids (who are our age but do not attend the church anymore).  Technically those kids are members, but they aren't a part of the church, and though we would like them to be, our wedding isn't really the best place to try and bring them in.  Now, it's feasible (and even likely), that the kids wouldn't come because they haven't been active, or they don't know us well and that I am worrying for nothing, but I feel like I at least need to consider the possibility.  Because, after all, what do you do if your venue only seats 200 and you invite 300 expecting lots of no's and 275 show up!??!  Then what?!  

I have also thought about the possibility of just holding a separate reception for the all the church people, anyone who wants to come can...that would give us more room for extended family and for friends of my parents.  But it also takes us back to the A, B, C dilemma, because there are those 25 church people we are close to, that we would want to be a part of our day, so then we have to deal with the inclusion/exclusion dilemmas all over again.  

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

As a pastor who married a pastor, our simple wedding wasn't. It was an open church wedding. We printed invites and left them out for the churches to pick up if they desired. The church we married in was big enough to hold whoever showed up. We had rsvp cards to keep a count for the reception in the fellowship hall (appetizers). It got hard to manage so I finally stopped worrying about it. When the food was gone, it was gone. the caterer's bill did not include numbers of people served. To the best of my knowledge, everyone except the bride and groom got food and we did not run out of bulletins for the service.