How to Say the Welcome Greeting at a church

Imagine that you are a lay person in your congregation (many of you are).

Your pastor calls you on Thursday and says

We are preparing the church bulletin.

Would you like to be our liturgist and give the welcome speech on Sunday?

Would you like to be person who says “Welcome to our church.”

Your heart races, the mouth goes dry.  You think:

Me?  I have to say something in front of all those people?

But since you want to

  • please the pastor, or
  • volunteer your time, or
  • practice good church hospitality because you know its the right thing to do,

you suspend your fear for just a moment and say yes.

What will you say to welcome people to your church?


How do I say a welcome at church?

When you hang up the phone it is a race to Google and type in something like:

  • How to Say the Welcome at/in Church
  • How can I say a/the welcome in a church
  • How do you say a church welcome at church functions
  • How to do church greeting
  • How to give a welcome address in the church
  • How to give welcome address for church visitors
  • How to give a church welcome
  • How to give welcome speeches for church visitors

I know, because this question and variants are common for my website and in my coaching practice.  I was surprised by the number of queries asked of me, so let me give you some tips.

5 Tips to Prepare the Welcome Speech at Church

1.  There is no magic formula to a church welcome speech.

I wish I could give you a script.  I’m often asked for a script. You might even be looking for sample welcome speeches to give at church.

But churches are so unique, each church visitor is unique, every person who does this unique, and every worship service is unique.

Even the location of the greeting is so unique to every church.  Some give this welcome greeting at the beginning of the service, others in the middle in relationship to their connection card, and others at the very end after the worship is over.

What you will say in your welcome speech at church is dependent on lots of other variables.

2.  To design a welcome speech, think like a first time church visitor.

Once first time church visitors get to the sanctuary and are participating in the worship service, first time church visitors have common questions.

  • Will I fit in here with this group of people?
  • Is this a place where I can serve?
  • How do I get more information about this church?
  • Will this place help me grow in my relationship with God?

Depending on where your welcome or greeting speech for visitors is located in the service, you may want to address one or two of those typical questions.

3.  Typical parts of a church welcome speech

Your welcome speech doesn’t have to be long at all.

Most church welcome speeches start with some kind of acknowledgment or appreciation of the visitor’s presence.

  • If you are here for the first time today, we’re glad you are here.
  • We want to give a special welcome to our first time visitors today.

Some may then move on to address a potential fear in the mind of a church visitor at this point.  For example

  • We won’t make you stand up if you don’t want to  . . .  .
  • We want to give you space to be as anonymous as you want . . .

Some may then move on to how to learn more.  For example

  • We invite you to visit the welcome center.
  • If you’ll raise your hand, the ushers will give you a welcome packet that we’ve prepared just for you.
  • If you’ll fill out your connection card, we’d love to send you a gift.

Some move into an invitation to some volunteer mission work or connection point that is upcoming.

  • We are building houses for Habitat this next Saturday and we invite you to come and serve with us and meet more people who might just be the ones to help you grow in your faith.
  • This Friday, we’re having a newcomers gathering at the pastors house.  Come and meet new people and get some of your questions answered.

4.  Invite them to join your church’s mission

That last part is a big deal for me.

I don’t know about you, but the generic “we are here to serve you” speech falls on my deaf ears.

I find that the more and more I hear that, the less I pay attention.


“I don’t know how the church can serve me.  I know nothing about it.  I don’t know their programs, I don’t know their people.  They don’t know me.”

What catches my attention is the church’s mission and programming.

What is your church’s unique mission and how are you expressing that in your programing in the next few weeks.

Think like a visitor.

What would motivate you to explore more of the church’s programming / service

  • We are here to serve you.
  • We are building houses for Habitat this next Saturday and you are invited to come serve with us.

You don’t need to cover every announcement every week, but pick one program expression that you want to invite people to.

This is simply suggesting a next step in a first time church visitors process of connecting with your church.

5.  Cover your visitor welcome speech with Prayer.

As you prepare your welcome greeting, pray for your part in the service.

Your part is one of many that the Lord may choose to use in helping people make another step of growth in their spiritual journey.

If you are a layperson, pray that the Lord will give you the right words for that particular crowd on that particular worship service on that particular day.

You might want to use these scripture verses from this list of 21 verses (or this list of 14 verses)  to help guide your prayer.

Church Greeters:

GreeterWebinarMultiDVDSet168x136I’ve prepared a 2 hour training for church greeters, available in the store.  Check out these Greeter Training DVDs from the store.

Let me ask you this?

What advice would you give to someone who is nervous about composing or giving a church welcome speech?  Use the comment field below


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photo credit: GlasgowAmateur via cc

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  1. Darrel says

    Never get up in front of the congregation and say, “I hope you will forgive me, I’m nervous today.” I know this seems like elementary, even trivial, advice but I have seen so many people do this. If you don’t tell people you are nervous, they will never know.

  2. Dawn says

    I agree with what you have said except for the “v” word. They should be called GUESTS at all times. Referring to your visitiors as guests is an important part of changing both the congregation’s and guest’s view of someone who is visiting. It changes how the congregation sees them & teaches them to reach out. It shows the guest that the are not considered an outsider here, but someone special and important.

  3. says

    @ Darrel:

    Great comment! I’ve seen that happen way too many times as well.


    Excellent point. This is something I point out elsewhere. When I do workshops, we talk about this frequently.

  4. Timothy says

    The key to presenting any speech is preparation. Fear of giving a speech is a very common problem.

    One of my professors shared a story in one of my classes in college about a student who was very nervous before giving a presentation on a class assignment. This student had prepared for the speech, and the presentation in front of the class went very well.

    My advice to anyone having to give a welcome speech is to prepare thoroughly.

  5. Robert says

    Have you seen the bank TV commercial where a child asks a man about the ice cream cart, but the man says it is only for new people and then proceeds to offer a cone only to a second boy who enters the scene because he is newer?
    While staff and leaders should talk about welcoming guests or visitors, we need public terminology that continually seeks to integrate everyone into some new aspect of community. A congregation I had visited while on vacation made me wish I could return when they invited me to participate with them for Bible Study and stay for coffee and pastries. But treating me like a welcomed guest in worship, demonstrated that I was an outsider. On the other hand, growing congregations will have new and newer opportunities every week to which every participant might be invited.
    I have also been surprised by the number of regular attendees who are uncertain about procedures and other people in worship. This article demonstrates this uncertainty or newness even by longstanding members.

  6. A. Edwards says

    Dawn I share your sentiments about referring to visitors as guests. But one of my pet peeve in church is this monotonous greeting: we would like to welcome our pastor, we would like to welcome our elders, we would like to welcome the choir, we would like to welcome our members……my thing is this; why would you be welcoming me back to my own home.

  7. Shantika Edwards says

    I attend a small church of the christian faith and I really want to become more involved in my church. I would like to know how to give a quick and easy welcomimg approach to our brothers and sisters in christ as well as our guests, when we our invited to other churches for worship and praise services. I really want to please the lord and do the things of god so I just need some guidance on this thanks in advance !

  8. paul says

    how to write a welcome address in the church,and the theme for the event is HEARKEN UNTO HIM. Pls,help me out with it.

  9. napoleon Appiaah Aduoew says

    very good one there. i want a very good welcome address to be delivered to my church leader next week sunday, can i please get one

  10. Arnetta palmer says

    what do you do when your greeter want to quite the team and we are a small church and really need them. Or could it be the the person over the ministry is not a good teacher or leader?? need help!

  11. says

    Thanks for your question. I will be writing a forthcoming article on this question directly. . I have a few ideas.

    1. Find out why they want to quit.

    There could be a variety of reasons.

    In the past, I have quit my volunteer positions because I was underused, undervalued, or unskilled, or I simply didn’t see the point of my role. When it’s no fun, it’s a chore.

    Consider the reason the volunteer wants to quit. .. Find out the reason and see if it is one you can address.

    2. Let them go Graciously.

    3. Ask them to hang in there for a few more months while you find a replacement. Then really work at it finding their replacement to honor your committment.


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