Once upon a time I'd been working on the teme of reaching out and making welcome and mentioned that many people didn't feel welcomed when they attneded our congregation. One of the women spoke up and said, "But I've always been welcomed when I come to church." She was in many ways a mrvelous woman, welling to help, supporting the pastor, giving time and money generously. But she didn't quite get that she'd been raised in the congregation and contributed generously and all that made her welcomed in a way that someone walking in the door for the first time didn't get.
The congregation I was serving meant to be welcoming. But many of the long-time members never realized that they sat with the same people and beyond saying 'hello' did nothing to help people feel included. A welcoming congregation needs things like name tags for everyone so that the new person can learn names. A welcoming congregation needs someone who introduces people to each other. A welcoming congreagtion can do things in many different ways, but the common denominator is making sure people are greeted and helped even before they come in the front door. A welcoming congregation doesn't leave the becoming a member in the hands of the new arrival, but works so that the new arrival becomes a member starting with their arrival.