Church Greeter Training

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Church Greeters 101 in Paperback

Hospitality Ministry Book Review: See You Next Week

During a recent church visitor assimilation webinar (available now for purchase), we discussed some excellent resources on the assimilation process.  One participant recommended a short book on hospitality ministry that was helpful to them.

See you Next Week

See You Next Week is a short text crammed full of ideas that could help your church get started in improving the welcome and integration process in your church.  If you haven’t read any books on this topic, this book might fit what you are looking for.  It can help your congregation develop it’s friendliness.

Who is this book for?

I’ve read several books on church hospitality.  I’ve written two myself.  This particular book would be aimed at the church that doesn’t have an existing hospitality committee or advocate who wants to run the ministry and needs someone to start taking charge.

See You Next Week would be a good primer and overview of the church welcome and hospitality process.

If you have already read some of the related books in this field, you won’t learn anything new.   However, See You Next Week would help you refresh your interest.  The ending section on 11 principles for your volunteers would serve any ministry leader well as a resource for their volunteer training.

In either case, you can find short and quick tips that you would need to polish your existing hospitality and welcome ministry, and quick reminders for your volunteers.

The book is not about evangelism, or even how to share the gospel along the way.  The authors know that is an important topic, but it is outside of the scope of their focus on creating a good welcome and developing your ministry of assimilation.

This book is all about integrating that newcomer into the church family as quickly as possible. This is not a book on evangelism. It is not a book on advertising. It is not a book on church programming. It is a book that focuses attention on that narrow range of activity that should help the newcomer on their way into your church community. On their part it might start with a tentative, “We should try that place out sometime.” But we want it to end with an assured, “This place is my new home!”

Overview

See You Next Week is laid out as short two page chapters, followed by a QR code and weblink to more in depth information.

The authors move through

  • The importance of being friendly.
  • First Impressions: the importance of managing it.
  • Next Steps: Plan intentional pathways
  • 11 resolutions for all hospitality volunteers.

Here is what you need to know about the flow of the book. We start together with clearing up some of the basic facts about the subject and the need to integrate newcomers. Then we move on to the attitudinal, mechanical, logistical and general organizational elements to consider. Finally, we give some practical advice for every committed church participant

I presume the promised online resources are still in development.  The preface promised additional resources via the links. I sampled a random few and didn’t find the additional resources hinted at in the preface.  Mostly, I found a page that has the text of the chapter, the audio reading of the chapter, and occasionally resource paper or additional resources.   Maybe more resources are coming as the product development continues.

The Gem of the book

The book is admittedly not about evangelism, or even about how to help people find faith in Christ. The target is to help your church members be intentional in helping newcomers feel like becoming part of the local church family. The writers say right off the bat:

“This is a book about one small slice of church life and therefore doesn’t deal with the diversity of the multiple elements that matter.”

It is full of practical tips on conversational small talk, how to relate to new comers, and various principles that volunteers should keep in mind when serving on a church’s hospitality or greeter ministry. They look at attitude, some mechanics, and some organizational elements of welcome and hospitality.

The value I found in See You Next Week was the 11 resolutions for hospitality volunteers.  These are directed at the volunteers, and you as a ministry leader could use them in your volunteer training.

Most of the books I’ve read in this field talk a lot about the mechanics of hospitality, but this set of 11 principles was written specifically for the volunteer.  It gives you specific ways you can live out a warm welcome from the relational side.

  • Show Up “I will show up for work at church.”
  • Plan “I will plan my work and I will work my plan.”
  • Be Joyful “I will lighten up.”
  • Pick a Seat “I will not sit alone.”
  • Invite “I will invite people to something.”
  • Keep in Touch “I will keep in touch.”
  • Be a Linker “I will introduce newcomers to others.”
  • Be Normal “I will be friendly but not overbearing.”
  • Be a Conversationalist “I Will Become an Excellent Conversationalist.”
  • Live by 5-10-15-Link “I will live by the 5-10-15 link rule.”
  • Reject Rejection “I will reject rejection.”

Short Quotes:

  • A welcoming church where people love to join isn’t built overnight.
  • You won’t get a chance at a second impression if you don’t make a good first impression.
  • Remember, if you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you probably don’t know what you are doing
  • Nobody wants to be around sour people.
  • Don’t look for a comfortable place for yourself; look to make things convenient for others

Other neat quotes:

  • With the “See You Next Week!” system you don’t need 100% involvement. It is a good idea to ask for full participation but if you get 25% participation your church will explode with new energy. If you get 10% participation you will see a noticeable difference in the number of newcomers who decide to make your church their church home. If all you get is one key person to team up with you, you can have high impact.
  • But virtually all church attenders who have been in for very long have forgotten the negative emotions they had in anticipation of their first church experience. It is the negative anticipations that keep many people away. Some take the risk to attend for the first time; they need to be pleasantly surprised. Unchurched people don’t go to church unless something or someone gets them there for the first time.
  • Your program definitely counts for something. But not as much as it used to because newcomers behave differently today. They used to care more about your complete church life. Nowadays, from their perspective, the intended full integration of the typical newcomer into your church life, will be to show up a few Sundays a month or even a season in your main meeting.
  • Meeting people who come from other lands or cultures is especially awkward for many greeters. They hardly know where to begin. And, of course, because there are literally thousands of possible variations it is impossible to cover everything. However, opportunities abound to minister to newcomers from all nations of the world.
  • You get one chance to make a first time impression with first time guests. Your need is to know the process for taking people from a first time newcomer to a healthy, growing, serving member of the church. You should lay out these important stages or touch points along the way. If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process you probably don’t actually know what you are doing. When a church has a really good process of welcoming they can increase the ratio of new people they are keeping while recognizing they will never keep them all.

Order your copy

If you want to add a copy to your library, order yours here.  If you do, I’ll get a few nickels.

Or check out my own ebook that is available to download here.  A purchase of my ebook will also reward you with a free consulting conversation with me about your hospitality ministry, plus information on the best way to get visitor contact information.

When Church Greeters Object: I don’t know who the visitors are

Signs of a Church VisitorIf you are involved in recruiting and training of church greeters, you will likely run into a church greeter who says

But I don’t know who the first time visitors are!!!!

They may use that to avoid answering your call to recruit them for a given Sunday or given rotation on your schedule.  It is offered as an excuse that really is meant to say “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

It might even be offered as a rationale for not serving as a church greeter.

Of course, you are not able to read their mind, so you will want to be prepared to answer this objection when you are recruiting church greeters.

Or, your greeter could honestly have no practical idea on how to notice a first time visitor in the crowd of people who walk through your door.

Three Visual Clues that Give Them Away

Here are a few clues that you can suggest in your training that will help you lead your church greeters.

You can use these three quick points when your potential greeter recruits say (or whine) that they won’t know who the first time church visitors are.

They are 3 visual clues that will reveal the presence of a first time visitor.   Help your greeter learn to watch for these three things:

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1.  Looking for building signs

Confusion Road SignA first time church visitor may not immediately know where various spaces are located in your building.

  • Where is the church bathroom?
  • Where do I take my children?
  • Where is my Sunday School Class?
  • Where is the Mayberry Room or the Parlor Room for the Suzie Mitchell Class?

Your visitors might be staring through the crowd of people, looking for eye-level signage on walls.

They might be looking over the top of everyone’s head for signs hanging from the ceiling.

If you have rooms and classes named after dead people, please consider going visitor friendly and dropping those names.   Your visitor doesn’t know why Mayberry was important, nor why a long dead Sunday School teacher still has a class named after her.

2.  Asking questions of volunteers

Church Greeter NameTagIf your volunteers wear a uniform shirt, or wear a name tag, or where a lanyard with their name, a first time church visitor may feel comfortable enough to ask whatever question is on their mind.

I’m not big on name tags for every single person in the church, but I do think a church that thinks of its first time guests will at least have a name tag, lanyard, or some kind of church branded identification on them.

This visible designation of “official staff” for your worship gathering allows you to approachable.

When I was recently in an amusement park in the United States, I couldn’t find a water fountain.  I found someone with a park ID badge on and asked.  They pointed me in the right direction.

Make yourself approachable with some kind of name tag or badge, or maybe even consider a branded polo shirt.

Your first time visitors will thank you, and you’ll have created another way to know who you first time visitors are.

3.  Moving in a Tentative Manner

People who walk in a direction with a sense of purpose likely already know where they going.  However, people who are entering your place for the first time may not seem so confident of their destination.

As I watched people enter that amusement park, people who had been before knew exactly where they wanted to go, but those who were visiting for the first time were somewhat obvious:

  • Eyes scanning everything that they could possibly see in all directions.
  • Slower walking.
  • Sometimes looking at a map. . .

As I watch tourists in my city, they walk slower than everyone else.  They are looking around at all the sights they are seeing for the very first time.    They often stop and point.  Whereas the normal residents around them are simply listening to their mp3 player, walking forward with some speed and intentional composure.

If you observe the pace at which people walk, you might detect a first time visitor.

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Answer Your Church Greeter Objections

You might think of over visible evidence of the behavior of first time church visitors.

If you can think of one right now, would you put it in the comment box below?

Then be sure to signup for our newsletter to get future updates on greeter ministry.

A Church Greeter Prayer for Holiness

A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.

“It is a great deal better to live a holy life than to talk about it. We are told to let our light shine, and if it does we won’t need to tell anybody it does. The light will be its own witness. Lighthouses don’t ring bells and fire cannon to call attention to their shining—they just shine.” – DL Moody

Without holiness no one sees the Lord

A Church Greeter Prayer for Holiness

Father,

Today is another day where I get to welcome people into the house of the Lord.  I am glad to be part of Your family, grateful that you have saved me by grace through faith in my wonderful Savior, Jesus.

I know that you will bring people who love You and serve You already.  I pray that they will walk in holiness today and let your light shine through their own live and attitude towards the visitors in our midst.  I pray for my church, that we would visibly demonstrate your goodness through our life, words, and action.

Some of them will have had a rough week, a rough season in their life, and will carry burdens that need You to carry.  Allow me to empathetic where needed this morning, to walk alongside a brother or sister who suffers.

I know that you will bring people who are searching for you.  Some will have had really bad encounters with other Christians and may be a little hesitant to be around Your people, but they search for You none the less.  I pray that our church, myself included, would walk out our holiness so that the light of Jesus will shine.

May we demonstrate such a holy life today that even our non-believing visitors will see our good deeds towards them and will be able to say, “God is in your midst” and glorify You.

May I live and walk in holiness today as I greet people with a smile and open heart.  Without holiness, no one will see the Lord working in me and through me.   You have chosen me to be holy and blameless in your sight, and I know that I appear so, simply because of the precious work of Jesus.  In view of His sacrifice for me, my I live and walk in that holiness.

I surrender any judgmental attitude that may hide in the recesses of my heart.  I surrender any sinful attitude in my heart that would keep me from displaying your grace as I welcome people.  I know that if I cherish sin in my heart this morning, you will not listen. If I cherish sin, I will not be sensitive to leading of of Your Spirit who wants to use me this morning.  I desire to keep my heart clean this morning as I serve in your courts this day.  I know your promises are good and true, so examine my heart and purify any attitudes that may hinder my service.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Scripture used in this Church Greeter Prayer

Hebrews 12:14: Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Psalm 66:18: If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened

Psalm 24:3-4:  Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

2 Corinthians 7:1  Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Ephesians: 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight

1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Do you lead your greeter ministry?

I’ve written a book for leaders of church greeter ministry.  Click on these links to read more (at Amazon).

You can get the 2 DVD Combo Set of Greeter Training DVDs from the store

A Prayer for Church Greeters #1

A Church Greeter PrayerOver the next several weeks, I’ll put out a few prayers for church greeters.

You are free to print, share, forward by email any of these church greeter prayers in this new series with your greeter team.

A Prayer for Church Greeters

Jesus,

You are the Good Shepherd.  You are kind.  You welcome those who seek you with a kindness and gentleness that wins souls.  You welcomed conversation with the Samaritan woman.  You welcomed the lame, the blind, the broken.  You were a friend of sinners that the religious people rejected.   You displayed the greatest love of all, that you laid down your life for your friends.

As people come to my church, help me to be kind to them.  Help me to give them a welcome that is worthy of your Name.  Help me to display kindness in a way that will prepare the way for them to hear God’s word proclaimed in our church gathering.  Help me to set aside my preoccupations and worries and focus on them, so that my reward my be great.

Allow kindness to show forth in me, blocking all negative judgment because of what a guest wears, apparent social status, or ethnic background.   Allow kindness to show forth in as I greet each and every person who walks in the door.  Allow kindness to help me see an unspoken need and meet it today.

Let my ways as a church greeter be pleasing in your sight.  May the kindness I share help a person calm down from a stressful morning, a nervous first time visitor to feel safe, and share a tangible expression of Your love for someone who needs it today.  May the kindness I show help everyone who enters today be at peace.

I clothe myself in kindness today, as chosen child of God.  I want to see each person who enters our church through the filter of kindness.  I will not dishonor a guest by ignoring them.  I will not be angry at a guest for wearing inappropriate clothing.  I will not judge the length of hair or the placement of piercings.  I will protect their integrity and show them hope.  I will not judge them by the color of their skin.

As I walk in kindness today, I will bless each guest and member who walks into our church.  I want to help them to experience your presence.

In Your Name,

Amen.

Scriptures used for This Greeter Prayer:

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Luke 6:35

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Proverbs 16:7

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

All Scriptures from the NIV.

More Greeter Training Resources

What is inside Church Greeters 101?

Chris Walker's Church Greeters 101 now available in printChurch greeter ministry is a vital part of welcoming visitors to your church.

Sadly, this ministry gets neglected, overlooked, or relegated to auto-pilot, ending up with church leaders begging for unmotivated volunteers who fill a space.

Church Greeters 101 leads you forward in starting or relaunching the greeter ministry of your church, covering such topics as:

  • how to recruit church greeters,
  • ideas to train church greeters, and
  • ways to cast the vision for ongoing hospitality ministry.

Maybe:

  • You’ve been asked to recruit greeters for your church greeting ministry.
  • You’ve been asked to organize your church greeters, but aren’t quite sure where to start.
  • You’ve been asked to train your current greeters but can’t find any adequate training material available.

Maybe you are not sure of any of the requirements to be a church greeter and are asking. . .

Where do I begin?

Perhaps your greeter ministry has fizzled out during an interim minister.

Maybe your church greeting ministry has been neglected because your church has been through a process of healing.

Or maybe your church has never had a greeter ministry and you feel the need to start something fresh.

If you have the responsibility to lead the your church’s greeter ministry, Church Greeters 101 can help you start organizing this ministry to

  • improve your church’s welcome experience,
  • identify and recruit new volunteers,
  • cast a renewed vision for hospitality ministry, and
  • take your welcome experience to new levels.

Church Greeters 101 will help you get started in putting an effective church greeting ministry in place.

Your church can’t make an impact if your visitors don’t come back.  Church Greeters 101 will help you make sure your greeters are NOT the reason visitors stay away from your church.

Inside Church Greeters 101 you’ll find

  • How to recruit new church greeters
  • How to keep your church greeters from dropping out of ministry.
  • Meeting ideas for church greeter training.
  • 4 steps to recruit new church greeters and keep them on board.
  • 11 Sample exercises and role plays
  • 27 brainstorming questions for your greeter ministry
  • A special section on ushers
  • How to notice a 1st time visitor
  • What to say to first time church visitors
  • What NOT to say to first time church visitors
  • How to spiritually prepare your greeting team
  • A plan for organizing your greeter department or ministry
  • Sample church greeter guidelines and checklist for last minute reference
  • Sample initial greeter training meeting
  • 6 qualities of a excellent greeter
  • 10 possible topics for greeter training meetings
  • How to organize a greeting ministry from scratch
  • How to schedule greeters
  • How to figure out how many greeters you need.
  • 6 different types of greeters.
  • Ideas to develop your own church handouts and checklists.
  • Help your greeters develop a commitment to this ministry

Do you lead your greeter ministry?

Until September 1, 2013, Church Greeters 101 is available exclusively on Amazon.  Click on these links to read more (at Amazon).

You can get the 2 DVD Combo Set of Greeter Training DVDs from the store.