Who greeted you the first time you attended Mariners?  It might have been Judy Baker. Through her work as a greeter, Welcome Center host, Office Angel, Connections Team Member and more, Judy enjoys dedicating time and effort to making sure first-time guests, and even longtime members, feel welcome, get and stay connected.

“I believe that Jesus wants us to use our talents, or ‘gifts,’ to honor Him. I’ve realized over the years that I’m a people person. I love interacting with others – listening, helping, connecting, encouraging them,” Judy said.

“The ultimate goal, of course, is to bring others to Christ,” she added. “By giving them a warm, friendly welcome and helping them become involved in our church’s programs and ministries, my hope is that they will hear the message and come to know or rediscover Christ.”

And her passion pays personal dividends. “Every time I make a connection, it’s a ‘God thing,’” Judy said. “That person and I have something in common, and I can show my love for God through my love for my fellow man. It’s kind of a cycle. It’s interesting how much I’m blessed by trying to bless others.”

Judy was born into a service-oriented family, with parents who set an early and life-long example of what it means to be a servant of God. “I had great role models,” she said. And she has moved around the country through the years and been blessed by others who welcomed her family when they were new in town. “I was new in churches several times. You just want to connect when you move to a new place,” Judy said. “I’ve had that experience, and I know how helpful and how heartwarming it is to be embraced and included.”

Judy invites each member to play a role in making Mariners an inviting church home. You don’t have to be a formal member of the greeting team.

“What we want to do is make our church warm, friendly, inviting and show our love for Christ through welcoming and loving each other,” Judy said. “I wish everybody would not just say “good morning” or “hello” on Sunday mornings and at other church events, but introduce themselves by name and actively engage with others. If you just start talking to people, that can make all the difference.”
By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller