Webinar: Step up! First Steps to Running or Restarting Your Welcome Ministries

Church Hospitality Training WebinarIf you are a new leader in your church’s hospitality or welcome ministry, register for this online class to help you get started in preparing for the upcoming season of welcome.

If you

  • Were recently appointed as leader of your hospitality ministry
  • Want to reorganize a stale welcome ministry
  • Re-launch your hospitality ministry for the next season of growth.

you may not know where to begin.

Where do you begin?

If you are just getting started, you are likely feeling a little overwhelmed with where to begin.

It feels like staring into the fog.  Let me help you get the fog out and help develop an action plan to help you get unstuck.

Sign up for Step up!: First Steps to Running or Restarting Your Welcome Ministries, an online class with other leaders who are in a similar position.

I’ve helped other hospitality ministry leaders breakthrough that log-jam of inaction and set them moving forward again. They felt like they were staring into the fog and not seeing much of anything clearly.

You’ll get your creativity going as you think of ways to move forward with your hospitality ministry.

The cost is an investment in retaining new families in your church membership.

Here is what you can expect to learn:

  • The Two Best Measurements of Effective Hospitality
  • The Master Word that will Help You Find and Remove Hidden Faults
  • 7 Areas to Form Your Action Plan


  • Actions-help-about-iconDuration: 1 hour and a 30 minutes.
  • Date: Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EDT
  • It is a narrated PowerPoint presentation.
  • Live discussion and interactive class ONLINE.
  • No travel necessary.
  • Price: $39 USD

If you cannot attend the live class, but want access to the recording, go ahead and register now.

Who is this class for?

  • If you are the new leader of your church hospitality committee and not sure how or where to start
  • Did you inherit a stale welcome ministry and need to re-launch it?
  • Perhaps you’ve been appointed as the new director who oversees the hospitality ministry of your church.
  • Does your hospitality ministry feel stuck?
  • Or maybe your hospitality committee is not quite sure where to start?
  • Or perhaps you are rotating off your committee leadership soon and need to train your replacement.

What will you receive?

  • Access to the live class (Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EDT)
  • Access to download the video (MP4 for Windows Player and Quicktime) within 24 hours.
  • Copies of MP3 audio to download
  • Copies of the slides as a PDF.
  • The optional handout that accompanies the teaching, along with links to further resources.
  • Permission to use this recording and resources in your congregation.


  • This class has a registration fee of $39.00 USD per person.
  • Payable on-line via PayPal OR Credit Card via the order button below.
  • I will not see payment information.
  • You’ll receive a reminder emails with the access codes as time grows closer.
  • You’ll receive your receipt by email which should contain the entrance link that will be unique to you.

Order Now:

Click on the big button below and you’ll be taken to the page in the EvangelismCoach.org store to add it to your cart.


Who is Chris Walker?

Evangelism Trainer Chris WalkerChris has given Evangelism Training seminars around the US and 9 Countries in Latin America. He is fittingly known as the Evangelism Coach because of his extensive work with churches in the US and Latin America in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Chris is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

His website has over 1000 articles on personal evangelism, congregational evangelism, and hospitality, as well as a podcast feed, all for free.

Ready for Results?

  • Practical. Based on my life experiences teaching evangelism and church hospitality on two continents and in two languages.
  • Biblical – No compromising of Scripture to get butts on benches here.
  • Personal – You’ll work with me to plan and  apply lessons to fit the personality of your church.
  • Affordable – A fraction of the cost of taking your ministry team to a conference or me to speak in person for a few days.
  • Step-by-Step Help. – You get some great ideas and focus to apply right away.
  • Gospel-Centered – It’s all about Jesus, proclaiming the glorious good and making disciples.

Frequent Webinar Questions

Q. What if I’ve been leading the hospitality ministry for a few years?
You may find that this class will spur some creativity or give you different angle to look at things.

I won’t simply say “be nice to people” or “tell your greeters to say this phrase”  but teach hospitality leaders how to identify shortcomings in their own context and think through ways to fix them.

The get started steps will focus on helping provide a framework for action over the next six months or so.

Q.  What happens if I register and then miss the class?

You’ll be given access to the replay, typically within 24-48 hours of the webinar.

Q.  What if the audio is really awful?

Sometimes, there are problems with bandwidth.  If the audio is really awful, I will re-record the webinar in a studio and make the re-recording available for replay.  I did that with the last church greeter training webinar.

Audio quality can vary based on your audio software/hardware manufacturer as well as your operating system. When using VoIP, the following best practices are recommended:

  • For optimum sound quality, a headset is recommended, preferably a USB headset for ease of use.
  • If a headset is not available, a microphone and speakers are required, preferably a USB microphone for ease of use.
  • If using a microphone, it should be a distance of at least 1.5 feet away from any speakers that are built into or connected to your PC.
  • The use of a Webcam microphone is not recommended.
  • The use of a integrated laptop microphone with laptop speakers is not recommended.
  • Ear buds or earphones and use of the integrated laptop microphone is a workable solution.

Q.  Why is there no group license for this webinar?

I found that a group license creates more work for me and for you as the group organizer.

Q.  Will I hear pitches for products and services?

You will not hear me sell anything during the webinar.    There is nothing more to buy.  You are buying access to a class and the registration fee helps me cover the cost of the technology.

Q.  Why do I need to pay the fee?

People value what they pay for.  I want people who are motivated to learn and will apply what they learn.  Free webinars are great when I am selling a product or service, where I can recoup the cost the webinar.

What others have said about Chris Walker’s Teaching

  • -Inspirational, re-awakening.
  • Do not be afraid! Evangelism is not scary – or need not be. It can be a friendly conversation.
  • “Attend one. ” You will no longer fear, ridicule or avoid evangelism.
  • More people really want to know Jesus and how to help others reach Him.
  • Good. Well worth it.
  • The seminar was awesome.
  • You will lose your misconceptions about evangelism.
  • Go with an open heart and mind and you will leave fulfilled.
  • You’ll learn to listen better.
  • An inspiring motivational speaker with a message for all.
  • Just do it – You will find that the skills are within, this encourages you to put them to use.
  • The seminar helps you feel more comfortable about evangelism.
  • Tools to share one’s faith with others to help them.
  • Your Church Hospitality Webinar Inspired Creativity

Order Now:

Click the big button and you’ll be taken to EvangelismCoach Sore to process your payment.


Do you have other questions?

Please use the form below to ask me other questions that you may have.  I’ll reply as well in the comment field.

Regular hospitality training would fix this awkward experience

Church Hospitality Training ErrorsOnce again, my family got to be the first time church visitors this past weekend.

We chose a church that had 3 Sunday services, and an approximate weekend attendance of 1500 people.

They have much of the hospitality systems in place, but it may be time for a hospitality training refresher for their volunteers

This little detail fell through the cracks, and occasional hospitality training sessions with your church greeter volunteers will help keep these at  a minimum.

I don’t write to complain, but to draw attention to the need to fix the inertia that causes little cracks like this to appear, even when hospitality systems are running at full speed.

The crack we fell in

We learned from the website that there was a special group for incoming 6th graders during the 11am service.

Our daughter decided she wanted to try out that group.

As we approached the parking lot, their attendants quickly waved us to a spot.  Parking was easy and quick.  For a church with 500 at a service, parking greeters really helped facilitate any easy experience.

After parking, we approached the entry door, where a church greeter volunteer joyfully passed out the morning bulletin.

1.  We asked the greeter about the 6th grade ministry.

The greeter had not ever heard of such a ministry of the church.  The look of confusion came over her face.  We had made her feel uncomfortable.

Have you ever had that awkward experience of being asked a question you discovered you didn’t know the answer to, and then felt embarrassed you didn’t know the answer?  That’s what happened.

As she tried to recover, she told us to ask at the Children’s Ministry registration desk “inside.”

2.  We looked for the Registration desk.

Once inside, we looked for a sign that said Children’s Ministry registration desk.  We found a long line to a desk that said “Welcome Center.”

The line wrapped around one corner, around a second corner, and then down the hall!!!  It was a line as long to wait for Disney ride.

We didn’t think that was the right line to find out about the ministry to 6th graders.

3.  We found another approachable volunteer.

A little confused between the “Welcome Center Sign” and the long line, we sought out a person wearing a church branded polo shirt.

It said [Church Name] Security so we figured he would know.  He was approachable and listened intently to us, the lost tourist.

He too didn’t know where the 6th grade class was.

But, he took the initiative to go find an answer for us.

Leaving us standing there, he went off to ask some other church member where our daughter’s class would be, and he came back with directions.

“It’s in the other building,” he said, pointing in the general direction.  “Go find the signs and the open doors.”

4.  We went looking for signs.

Exiting the air conditioned building back out into the hot summer sun, we walked through the parking lot to the building next door.

We were on a quest for signs and open door.  After all, the friendly man in the grey shirt said we’d see them.

We walked from one end of the building to the other.

No signs.

We even pulled on a few doors, since we didn’t see an open one.

5.  Dejected, we returned to the main building.

We were not outside in the heat for long, but long enough to have sweat on our foreheads.

We felt somewhat incompetent that we couldn’t find the right building next door, the signs, or the open doors

On our way back to the main building, I stopped another man in a grey shirt, branded with the church logo.

He was our third volunteer, and like the others, he was very approachable.

We explained our quest for the 6th grade class.  We mentioned our being lost on the campus trying to find the open door and the signs.

He apologized for the miscommunication and personally escorted us to the leader of the sixth grade ministry who was in the darkened sanctuary while the worship song set was happening.

We had to talk really loud, over the music, about how to let my daughter attend the 6th grade class.  It felt awkward trying to have a private conversation in a darkened amphitheater while the music blares.

What shouldn’t have been and how to fix it

My daughter finally found her group.

In the process, we had been through

  • 3 volunteers,
  • 4 climate changes, and
  • lost about 15 minutes of the worship experience.

Your first time visitors should not have to work that hard to find a class. 

That is the kind of first impression that can keep a visitor from returning to your church.

While all the other aspects of their hospitality were top notch, this detail revealed a weakness that could be remedied pretty easily.

How could this be fixed?

1.  Help your volunteers know about all the ministries.

Find ways to help your volunteers know about all the ministries surrounding the main worship services.

All your volunteers should know where the nursery is, where the children’s ministries are, even where the restrooms are.

They should also know who is the point person for questions they can’t answer, rather than misdirect us towards another confusing situation.

You could develop a “Frequently Asked Questions” guide that every volunteer gets upon their orientation at their first hospitality training or vision meeting.

You could reference it in the reminder email when you remind them of their service commitment that weekend.

2.  Regularly review your hospitality experience.

Wise church leaders will do some advance preparation related to hospitality in expectation of new church visitors. A regular review of your systems is a good way to make sure things flow smoothly. You know that Inertia and inefficiency always creep in.

Whether that is you as

  • Senior Pastor
  • Head of the Greeter / Ushers.
  • The leader of your church hospitality ministry
  • Chair of the committee that oversees your church welcome ministry.

Your systems and processes are 1 of at least 4 Variables in Church Hospitality.

Wise hospitality ministry leaders will

  • Review their facility navigation
  • Review their current facility appearance.
  • Review their church visitor follow-up process.
  • Review their status of current hospitality ministries
  • Review their current church greeter process / volunteers
  • Review their process to how they get church visitor contact information.

Do a hospitality audit (Free download here).

Listen to this MP3 from the store.

Or Get your hospitality evaluated for the price of a cup of coffee.

3.  Provide a hospitality training for all your volunteers

You can prepare your hospitality and greeting team with some fresh vision for the fall, Christmas, or the launch of a new sermons series that you are planning after Easter.

If you are planning your preaching calendar and outreach calendar, you’ll always find a good time to gather your volunteers for a vision refreshing meeting as they prepare for that new wave of church visitors.

You can invite me as a virtual presenter at

  • your scheduled training meeting,
  • or we could set a date that works for your team.

In this 90 minute online teleclass with just your team, you can equip your team on:

  • How welcoming guests helps your church fulfill or fail the great commission.
  • 8 characteristics to know about your guests BEFORE they arrive so you can serve them well.
  • No manuals necessary – how to have awesome hospitality ministry in unforeseen moments.
  • 8 necessary traits of a church hospitality volunteer who blesses your guests.

This on-line class is specifically for

  • Greeters who need a refresher.
  • First time Greeters who will be starting.
  • Hospitality ministry leaders who want to cast a fresh vision for their team.
  • Pastors leading hospitality and welcome ministries who want an “outsider” to share.
  • Welcome ministry leaders who want to provide a training point for their ministry teams.

There will be opportunity for Questions and Answers.

You don’t need me to give you a class.  You could do your own.

But if you want me as the outsider, Read more about it here.

Coaching Corner

Are there small slip-ups in your hospitality systems?

Plan on doing a small hospitality training review with your volunteers.

Set a date in the next three months to get it done.

photo credit: apasciuto via cc

How to Pray for Your Neighbor’s Salvation

I recently got new neighbors.  They moved in across the way.

I know very little about them at the moment, other than they are Jewish.

At least, that is my best guess based on the mezuzah that is on their door frame.  I am told that the mezuzah holds a small paper scroll with the words of the Shema prayer written on it in Hebrew.  Mezuzahs fulfill the command to keep the laws of God on the doorposts of our homes, and I’ve seen family members touch it each time they walk into their house.

I doubt my first greeting with them will be to talk about Jesus.

But I can begin to pray for them before I have a chance to know them personally.

How can you pray for your neighbors?

How to Pray for Neighbors Salvation

I know there are many different prayer strategies in personal evangelism (listen to this one), such as this one from Colossians 4:3-4

  • “Lord, Open a door.”
  • “Lord, open their heart.”
  • “Lord, open my mouth.”

When I last got new neighbors in 2011, here is what shaped my prayer for my new neighbors.  We are praying along these lines:

  1. That we’d find common ground with our new neighbors
  2. That we’d build a genuine and authentic relationship.
  3. That we’d be part of God’s work in bringing them to Christ.
  4. That if they don’t have a church, that they would become part of ours.
  5. That we’d get to invite them to our church.
  6. That God would draw them to Jesus if that hasn’t happened yet.

Due to the course of life events in both our families, we moved and they moved before we ever had a meal together.

As I step into a new seasons of praying for new neighbors, here are some ideas that are fueling me.

1.  Pray for passion to share the good news

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s  driving passion to share the good news, as spelled out in 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.  What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

2.  Pray that God would give you divine appointments

Earlier in the Corinthian letter, Paul wrote:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. (1 Corinthians 3:5)

Paul reminded the Corinthians about how they made their journey to faith over time through various conversational encounters.

Each of those conversational encounters were divine appointments, those prompting a moment that will impact someone’s life in their journey to faith.  I want to give you examples of how this can play out in real life.

Pray for more divine appointments with your neighbor.

3.  Pray that God will keep those neighbors before you.

Your neighbors are not just a nameless class of irrelgious people.

They are not simply “the unsaved.”  Rather, they are individuals with names, stories, hopes, dreams.  They are people that you can grow to love and serve.

You could pray that seeing your neighbors will become a trigger that will prompt you to pray,

Lord use me to share the love of Christ with them.

Lord, use me to invite them to church.

Pray that God would give you the opportunity to invite someone to church this coming weekend.

4.  Pray that you’ll receive the Father’s heart of love.

It’ll be easy to get annoyed with your neighbors when they won’t cut their tree limbs back, or when their dog continues to do its business on your yard.

It’ll become easy to ignore your neighbor if you never interact with them.

It’ll become easy to forget about their spiritual condition once you have spent a good amount of time with them.

Instead of letting business as usual develop, ask the Lord to give you His heart of love for those who don’t know him.

Ask regularly, ask plainly, and ask with great passion.

Ask the Lord for that same compassion Jesus felt that day outside of Jerusalem.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Matthew 9:36-38)

5.  Pray that you’ll discern their spiritual thirst.

As you pray regularly for your neighbor, you’ll begin to see what the Spirit of God is doing in their life.

You’ll begin to see their spiritual thirst.

Recently, I went on a charter fishing expedition.  The captain looked for clues as we drove to the fishing spots – birds feeding on bait fish.  The birds showed the captain where the small bait fish were swimming near the surface and that was the clue to the likely presence of the bigger fish we would catch.

Spiritual thirst is that clue that will begin to give you a hint of the spiritual hunger that is just below the surface.

In the way I teach personal evangelism, this thirst is what God uses to draw people to himself.  Jesus said:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37b)

Jesus plainly taught that if anyone wants a relationship with God, it can be obtained.

But notice that this claim to a relationship is specifically addressed only to those who are spiritually thirsty.

Pray that you’ll begin to see it.

I pray for my neighbors.  Will you pray for yours?

Here is the coaching corner.

Are you praying regularly for your neighbors?

Maybe it is time to make a prayer list of every neighbor in your apartment building, condo complex, or cul-de-sac.

Write down their names and set apart time in your devotional times to pray for them.

Ask EvangelismCoach: That leader keeps the sanctuary empty!

I know first hand the uncomfortable awkwardness when church visitors show up 10 minutes early to get a seat, but the sanctuary is empty except for a few musicians finishing a review rehearsal, and church members arriving up to 30 minutes late.

Recently, a reader submitted a question via Ask EvangelismCoach, concerning a Sunday School teacher who doesn’t finish their class on time.

The result keeps many church members out of the sanctuary in those important first impression minutes visitors get of a church.

Church Pews are Empty

Here is the question:

We average about 55 on a Sunday morning.  Our Sunday School that is supposed to end at 10:15am goes up until service start time at 10:30am.

When I am greeting, I leave Sunday School at 10:00am so I can prepare the Entry for guests to our 10:30am service. (I usually have to remove items people place on the welcome center and walk away from, etc.)


How do you get across the importance to the church and those leading Sunday School how important it is for people to be in the Sanctuary at least 10 minutes before service starts and not still in Sunday School?

An empty Sanctuary I think is very uninviting to a guest and can make some feel uncomfortable.

My thoughts

The basic principle that guides all your hospitality ministry is respect for your visitors.

Ministry leaders should realize or be taught to realize that their small decisions before the service will impact their church’s ability to give a great first impression.

This is even more important in the small church, where members may be held up in their Sunday School class.  In a larger church, this may not be such an issue, as plenty of volunteers are likely staffing hospitality roles in effective ministry.

Your thoughts

I put this question out to members of my social networks, and here are some vital answers.

Jim – First thing is to train your Sunday School teachers in the importance of ending class on time, so they can be in the sanctuary to greet new visitors and allow the service to start on time.

Channing - Also let the attendees know that we are the face of Jesus that new people see, no faces= no Jesus…

Raymond – In my experience this HAS to come from the Senior Pastor. If he is not on board with ending Sunday School promptly and starting service promptly at the given time then you are fighting an uphill battle. Get your Pastor on board and ask him to stress to all of the teachers that they need to end their lessons promptly. In addition maybe have him have a 15 minute meet and greet with lively music during the intermission between SS and church. Encourage all your members to shake as many hands as they can during this time. Its amazing what a little personal warmth does for people. This will encourage interpersonal relationships in the body while making for a warm atmosphere for guests coming for the first time. Its those very first impressions that make the difference between building a church and just getting by. Your Pastor should be on board with any or most of these suggestions if you present them positively.

Lawrence – Chris, my church have Sunday School at the same time as the Sunday Service, the reason is that the parents can attend Sunday Service and their children take care of by the Sunday School teachers and workers. The parents can concentrate on the sermons without worrying of their children and the children can learn the word of God without disturbing the Sunday Service. My church has around 60 members too.

Stan – First, I would try a gentle suggestion of, “I’m sure you mean no disrespect but holding the class over is creating a logistics problem. I’d appreciate your help with this.” Should the problem persist, you may find a tactic I used to use when meetings over ran their time helpful. Either my assistant or myself would step into the room and announce, “I am so sorry to interrupt. I know how time can get away from us sometimes, but in order for us to keep the service in order, we really need your presence in the main service.” We would then remain standing in the doorway until the session was dismissed. A few times, and only a very few, I had to say “Let us dismiss with this prayer”, then lead the dismissal prayer myself. I hope you find this helpful.

Dave – In my church, Sunday School begins after the opening prayers of the congregation. The pastor calls forward those who wish to attend Sunday School, usually the youth and sends them down for their Sunday lesson. Meanwhile the congregation can go on with the Sunday Service.

Phil – We dismiss anything going on at least 15 min before service starts so people can walk into a warm and friendly environment. We believe there is much ministry done when people enter the building and can determine weather they come back again. We call it lobby ministry time.

Jim – Someone like that teacher considers himself more important than others. He/she should be reminded of the time situation and have them stick to a schedule. All part of being humble and submissive and on time. His response should be noted.

David – What is important is for the Sunday school teachers to finish on time for example if the service starts 10:30 they should be able to stop 10 minutes to time in order to give the members and coordinators and worship team/Choir to take their position for the service but they should be able to understand that other departments are as important as Sunday school. Also as the Pastor you need to give direction as to the way you want things to go provide leadership Sir.  I agree with Naomi there should be some time given for he people to move to the next service from Sunday school though the matter lies squarely with the Lead Pastor

Gilbert – Chris I would suggest that you design your service without an intermission. You could try to move right into praise and worship segment right after Sunday school ends with a praise and worship team consisting of 3-5 members. No more than three or four praise songs and then move right into your worship format. Good music draws people. They will gladly remain seated in the sanctuary.

James – I think it depends on “how God has knit you together”, whether you can be bold and direct or reserved and calculating. But remember in all things, Pray, Pray, Pray. It’s ultimately up to the Lord anyway.

Greg – First, pray and pray some more for God to make hearts receptive to this need you have wisely seen. I believe it is a matter of respect: for the pastor who has prepared all week long for this service, for the guests, especially the lost who’ve come, for God, whom you are looking to for salvation of the lost and challenge and change in the saved. I would approach them with a list of just how important the worship service is and that timeliness is very important in effectively serving the Lord and the congregation. People today want meetings to be timely. Our church has a countdown clock on the large screens in auditorium and the service ALWAYS starts right on time and ENDS on time. People appreciate that in today’s society. Hope this helps!

Brian – 1) Tell the Sunday School Teachers. 2) Change the start times if they need the time. 3) Ring a bell at 15 minutes before the service begins. 4) Start prelude music right after the bell rings.

Bishop M.R. – As Pastor, I require that each Officer, Teacher, Minister, Praise Leader etc… attend “altar prayer” 30 minutes before taking on their respective responsibilities before each service.

Rick -  Church Greeters are to make visitors and new attenders feel welcome and at home. As for the issue of the congregation being in sanctuary at start, the most effective method is to open with prayer and close the doors during prayer and reopen once worship begins. this serves as a direct advisory as to when services start.

Darla -  Perhaps a song that is a upbeat song…it’s louder and tells everyone it’s time to start… Our church does this… the music is the alarm to let everyone know church is starting… they usually do 1 or 2 upbeat songs then the pastor steps forward and welcomes everyone and prays before turning it over the worship team. While that initial song is playing people are filing in and getting their seats and others that were already there are clapping hands and singing.  Of course prayer is essential… however finding a new way to alert everyone without upsetting anyone can be a good thing too.

Bill – My take is that you need at least one person that shares your vision who is willing to take on a volunteer role, e.g., greeter coordinator or similar title, and have them begin to draw a corps of folks together as greeters, ushers, etc. We have a larger congregation (about 1200 on a weekend). My wife took on this role over a year ago. The perception of our church (we are told by new visitors and some who have been away & returned) is that we’ve moved from being viewed as an unfriendly church to a friendly one. We have greeters at the main doors, ushers who also greet and distribute bulletins as people enter the service, a Connection center (Q&A, gift package for newcomers, “guides” to get people – especially those with younger children – to the right location, etc.) and it has paid off. People who feel welcome are much more likely to return (Duh, he says). Is it work? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Bill Manley -  Our situation is similar and I have instructed our SS teachers that they must conclude at least 15 min prior to start of main service. We need to be punctual and so I’ve put folks in charge who are mindful of this and they make sure things are wrapped up when they need to be.

Richard – Pastor (Bill) Manley hit on probably the most important answer to this dilemma. If able, put people in charge that are mindful and respectful of the importance of getting to the sanctuary early enough to make guests and new attendees comfortable and feeling welcome.

Linda – I agree with Bill (Manley). if this is important then it is vital to get the SS staff on board. They have to see what they do as leading actively into ministry. But make it a positive invitation to participate with the heart of the pastor’s vision for the church. Not that they are losing 15 minutes their time.

Austin – Hey Chris, I live the question. I look at this as a pastors situation to deal with. The greeter can ask for the Sunday school leaders help but the Pastor can help to impart the true necessity. A loving sit down with the leader over coffee would be a great way to start the conversation, and out of that can hopefully come a resolution. I do agree though- an empty sanctuary can be disheartening both to visitors and regular attendees as well as volunteers playing instruments or doing sound. Be blessed!

Brandon – Chris, Thanks for your post. Why not go straight to the Sunday School leadership with your concern. It is a legitimate concern and I see no reason why anyone should be offended if you point out your observations. Maybe they can shift the start time so that it concludes at 10 am. Hope that makes sense and that I read your question correctly. Keep Growing In Christ, Brandon

Elaine – Hi Chris, 1) Have a workshop for the church incorporating all aspects of running it and looking after the fellowship. Allow an open forum for congregants to share ideas and contribute skills / abilities. Look at what is biblical and what is practical. If the budget is available, invite the pastor of a small successful church to join you and lead the workshop. 2) Consider some assertion training / counseling? You’re a Christian, not a doormat.  3) The pastor/vicar/leader should be having this particular heart-to-heart with the leader of the Sunday school shouldn’t he/she?

Michael – Teach on kingdom excellence and doing all things in the house of God that would honor His presence.

Naomi – Change the time on the members. If you want church to start at 11:00am have Sunday school end at 10:45am or even as early as 10:30.

Let me ask others:

If you are a church hospitality ministry leader or a pastor,  what advice would you add to help that Sunday School leader honor visitors?

Answer in the comment field below.

Image Copyright: lubashi / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Ways Church Management Software Can Help Your Church Visitors Become Members

One consistent question I receive is how to follow up on your first time church visitors.  Questions like:

Another question I’ve received is related to the data management side of handling visitor contact information.

How can church management software help our visitors become new members?

Today’s guest post answers that question.

It is from Leah Merrill, Software Analyst for Capterra, where she specializes in helping church administrators find church management software.

Church Management Software

3 Ways Church Management Software Can Help

Getting guests to stick around is a big deal.

If you’re like most churches, you have a few guests each week who come to your church looking for something new, somewhere closer to home or, sometimes, an entirely new life.

It’s always exciting to see a new face return for the next two weeks or maybe three.

But with so much to take care of in the church office, guests are often forgotten.

How can you get visitors to become active members?

Software may sound like an odd answer, but it can be more helpful than you think.

Though church management software (ChMS) can’t provide a smiling face to greet your guest on Sunday morning, it can go a long way in helping you convert guests into members.

1) Easily Post Your Services Schedule and Calendar Online

Studies from Grey Matter showed that 1.6 million American non-churchgoers visited a church’s website in the past 30 days, and almost half of them visited to check service schedules (likely to plan a visit). With numbers like these, you can’t afford not to display your church’s services in a clear and helpful way on your site.

Many Church Management Software products come with the ability to create and edit websites, which are often integrated with a member database and schedule. Because of this integration, it’s easy to sync the church calendar with the church website and make sure the service announcements are always up-to-date. And if the web-visitor is there to stream a sermon or download podcasts, ChMS can provide those things too, since that type of content can also draw visitors to your church.

2) Follow-up…Automatically

The visit happens and they’re delighted with your church. Perfect! This guest is great congregant material. However, the guest needs to feel like they belong if they’re going to come back, and it’s hard to find time to contact them personally when you’ve got a lot on your plate. ChMS can help with:

  • Phone calls:

An easy way to let this guest know they haven’t been forgotten is to send an automated phone call. If you already had them fill out a simple contact information card when they visited, you can then enter them into your member database as “guest,” which will automatically place them in the queue to receive a follow-up call thanking them and inviting them to come back. Also, since they’re marked as “guest”, if they don’t come back, they won’t be lumped in with the rest of your congregation in the database.

  • Email or Text:

Maybe phone calls weren’t enough, or maybe that’s just not your style. There are other ways to keep up. Automated emails are one of the most common functions of ChMS, and one of the most helpful. With an email, you can link to the church’s site, provide a way for the guest to get in touch, and send customized messages to different groups, like “guests.” Automated text messages sent straight to their phones can also keep them updated on upcoming services and events.

3) Enable Online Sign-ups

Speaking of emails, why not try linking to a new member’s class sign-up page? Many ChMS programs that provide websites also provide a way to put sign-ups on your church’s web page, so your guest can follow up on their experience immediately and start learning what your church is really about.You could also include a link to a small group sign-up page. As you probably know, joining a small group is one of the first big steps toward becoming a lasting part of the church, and it makes it that much easier if you provide sign-ups online.

So there you go. Using a bunch of great ChMS features, you’ve made contact and followed up with your guests, giving them an easy path into the church community.

Are you ready to start remembering every guest and welcoming more of them as permanent members of your community? Start looking for ChMS software today.

About Leah Merrill

Leah MerrillLeah Merrill is a Software Analyst for Capterra, where she specializes in helping church administrators find church management software. When she’s not helping churches and non-profit organizations find the right software on the Capterra Church Management Blog, you’ll find her reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends. Follow Capterra for church management news on Twitter @CapterraChMS.

Your Turn

My current church is likely too small for such a software investment.  Most of our communications are email blasts, text blasts, and a chat group on WhatsApp.

But as your church grows, a software system could help you manage your assimilation process, to help your visitors develop that come back habit and make new friends (2 critical steps to keep more of your church visitors)

In fact, a using sequential follow up system based on a church management software is the main point of Nelson Searcy’s book, Fusion, one of my favorite books on church visitor assimilation.

I talk a lot about visitor follow up in my recorded class on visitor assimilation (available for purchase)

Regarding church management software, my question for you:

If your church uses a Church Management Software, what is the best feature you like about it.

Describe the feature and how it helps you.

Answer in the comments below.