The problem that many of our churches face is that church visitors do not come back for the second or third time.
Churches need to get the core values of church hospitality:
- Visitors are a gift from God.
- We have the privilege of influencing their journey to faith.
- We can lead them to Christ.
- We can help them find a place to serve.
But that is if our church
- welcomes visitors,
- loves the church visitor,
- serves the first time church guest, and
- works at including them in the Body and help them to grow.
We don’t want to make it unnecessarily uncomfortable for our guests.
We don’t want our behavior to make our guests decide not to come back.
They might be offended by the claims of Jesus Christ, but that is different from the unnecessary offense that our members might create against visitors who come for the very first time.
Growing effective hospitality ministry is one way that we can improve our congregation and one way that we might help improve our visitor retention rate.
Four avenues of praying for your church’s hospitality ministry
I want to give you four avenues of praying with regards to hospitality.
These are four ways or four directions to pray for an increase in hospitality in your church.
1. At the hospitality committee level
Spend time at your team level or your committee level praying for the work of hospitality in your congregation.
Take time during your committee meetings or take time at a particular time during the day where your leadership team prays that your church would get hold of God’s heart for the visitor.
Pray that your team would be able to be successful in casting that vision to greeters and to the congregation.
Pray that you would be able to find creative ways to meet the practical needs of the visitors who come.
Praying for the volunteers that serve in the ministry to have God’s heart for the visitor and that they would be blessed through their acts of service.
2. Praying for your church
More specifically, pray for your church and its members.
Pray that they would indeed welcome the visitors that God sends.
Pray that they would have the eyes to see the visitors in their midst.
Pray that they would get the vision of hospitality as the pastor casts it.
Pray that they won’t put up unnecessary stumbling blocks or barriers to visitors.
Pray they would get the vision as you do training meetings for your members.
A few days ago, I spent some time coaching with a pastor who took a sabbatical. As he visited other churches, he began to realize the power of hospitality and now he wants to communicate that to the members of his congregation that they may be able to get that.
But part of casting that vision involves praying ahead of time.
3. Pray for the invitations that your church members make
Perhaps you are launching a sermon series or you have got special events that are coming up and you are encouraging your members to invite.
Here are 10 ways that you can pray for those invitations.
4. Pray for your visitors
You can pray that they would experience the message and worship.
Pray that that they would encounter the Presence of God in the midst of all of that.
Pray that they would hear the message of the sermon and that they would grow one step closer to God.
Pray that they would experience the warmth of your congregation, that they would experience the sacred Presence of God as they go through the worship service, that they would be drawn to come back for a second or third visit.
Prayer is the spiritual work
Those are four avenues to saturate your hospitality ministries in prayer.
Prayer is ultimately a spiritual work.
Hospitality is ultimately a spiritual work.
The conversion to faith in Christ and the journey of conversion is also a spiritual work that is facilitated by the work of prayer.
I would encourage your teams to dedicated some time to pray, not simply open your meetings in prayer, but to labor in prayer asking God to bring people to faith in your congregation.
Gather your team and spend the next 30 days in prayer for the hospitality ministries of your church.
Agree to pray at the same time each day.
Send your team a reminder email or text message near the appointment time. Use some scripture verses on hospitality to shape your prayer.
Pray and watch what God will do.