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Give visitors a royal welcome

  • 2001 11 Oct
Give visitors a royal welcome
First impressions do count. Visitors quickly determine if they want to be in your church. While friendliness cannot be dictated, it is a skill that a congregation can learn. Give visitors a royal welcome that will cause them to want to return.

How to be a great greeter:

  • Be prepared. Arrive at church early and check the lobby to make sure everything is ready. Do you need to sweep the front steps or pick up some litter? Also check your appearance: are your shoes polished, teeth brushed, hair combed?

  • Begin in the parking lot. Do you have parking spaces reserved for visitors? Is it clear where the main entrance of the church is? Always watch for those who need assistance: handicapped, elderly, or parents juggling children.

  • Welcome everyone. Not only do the newcomers need your warm welcome, the regulars also need a friendly greeting. Develop a good handshake. Be enthusiastic - about the day, the worship that is about to take place, about Christ.

  • Anticipate the newcomers. When people enter the door whom you do not recognize, approach them by saying, "We're glad to have you here today. I don't recall meeting you before. Is this your fist visit to our church?"

    • If they say yes, say, "I am (give your name), and what is your name?" Listen intently as they give their name. "So glad to meet you." Then you may direct them to your Welcome Center or to the worship center.

    • If they say no, say, "I am (give your name), and please remind me of your name." Don't feel embarrassed that you don't know them. Use the situation to form a connection with them.

  • Say goodbye with warmth. After the service, bid farewell to visitors, inviting them to return next week or to any Sunday school class or mid-week service. Ask them if they have any questions. Introduce them to other members and to the pastor.

  • Understand the mind of a visitor. They want to be welcomed but not put in the spotlight. They want to observe your church service and be provided an easy opening if they choose to come again. Most of all, they don't want to be pressured.

  • Candidly interview new people in your congregation. Ask them to express some honest first impressions of your church. Ask them for suggestions of how you could improve - or begin - your greeting program so that visiting your church would be a pleasant experience.

  • Greeter's Prayer:

    May those who come inside our church,

    Whom I will greet

    See Christ in all I do and say.

    And remind me, Lord, that

    Newcomers are not just

    People who choose to worship here today,

    But they are souls

    Whom You have sent by me

    In hopes that they might be saved.

    I'll not be just a greeter or an usher

    For my church,

    But Your greeter, Your usher,

    At Your house.

    May I greet every person with

    Prayer and sincerity,

    Seeing this greeting ministry

    As an opportunity

    To introduce newcomers to You.

From The Winning Welcome by Sharon Bushey. Copyright (c) 1989 by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Mo., 1-800-877-0700. Used by permission.

Sharon Bushey not only spent her childhood in a parsonage but married a minister and continued the parsonage experience. She assists her husband, Richard, as he conducts marriage enrichment seminars and retreats. They live in Florissant, Mo.