First Presbyterian Church of Joliet, IL

From the first time we talked with Ward about the possibilities and, more importantly, the importance of having a vibrant welcoming culture at our church, we were convinced that his foundationally biblical approach was the direction we needed. We invited Ward to begin the transformational process at First Pres-Joliet with the Unannounced Visit in October 2017, Sermons in January 2018, and Welcoming Seminar in March through the conclusion of a completed Welcoming Ministry Manual in September 2018.

The journey to date has been exciting as we have begun implementing the recommendations contained in our individualized Welcoming Ministry Manual. While so many today want immediate and tangible results like a 100-fold increase in worship attendance, we recognize that this is a journey to a new culture for our church and it will take time. What is noticeable already is the number of individuals who have committed to being Connection Center Ambassadors and planting the seeds of a welcoming culture every Sunday!

We would recommend Welcoming Touch Ministries for other churches who sense the need to nurture a welcoming culture. Most importantly, we believe Ward Utterback brings a passion for Jesus and the exuding warmth to carry his passion in an exciting way to others. Ward believes in his heart that his ministry is not simply about getting first time guests to become members of a church. A welcoming culture is at the very heart of the Gospel message and the true first priority of any church.

Church Growth Council
First Presbyterian Church of Joliet

Joliet, Illinois