No church wants to give a their first time visitor or returning guest a bad experience.
I have not run into a church that wants to create a bad experience for its guests.
When visitors have a bad experience with your church, often your error is something unintentional.
No church wants to be rude. No church wants to hinder a family’s journey to faith.
Today, I want to give you ten areas that you can work on to grow your hospitality ministries.
Get involved in praying for your hospitality ministries.
Pray for your church hospitality minsitries and church — that your church would welcome the visitors.
Pray that God would send you visitors.
If you are the pastor, pray that you would be able to cast the vision for hospitality.
Pray that God would give your church the ability to welcome and incorporate the visitors who come.
Every visitor is a gift from God, and we need to thank God for visitors who do come.
2. Cast the Vision
We may lead hospitality ministries and we may be able to cast the vision for greeters and for church ushers.
However, once your visitor walks past the greeters and ushers or the professional friendly people, is your church still cold as ice?
Cast the hospitality vision for the whole church that whole church would be welcoming to the visitors who come into their midst.
3. Learn to think like the visitor
If you can think like a visitor and your ministry teams can think like a visitor, I think that you will find your own creative solutions to some of the practical challenges that visitors encounter when they walk into your facility.
When you develop an empathy for the church visitor, you’ll be able to think of additional ways to impress the visitor that comes in.
Learning to think like a visitor is an excellent exercise for your greeters, for you as a pastor and for your hospitality teams.
4. Launch Your Greeter Ministry
A staple of church hospitality is a greeter ministry:
- Greeting people at the door,
- Greeting people at a welcome center
- Greeting people during the worship service.
- Greeting people after the service is over, or between morning services.
Some of you are at the same point of many churches:
- You want to organize a greeter ministry and don’t know how.
A lot of churches think that greeting happens, but believe it or not, it does not.
Launching and organizing a greeter ministry in your church is a way to organize your friendliness to help first time church visitors navigate your service.
5. Plan a visitor reception.
The ten most important minutes to a visitor to evaluate the friendliness of your congregation are the first ten minutes when the service is over.
People talk about the first seven minutes, but in terms of determining friendliness, it happens during the first ten minutes the worship service is over.
That’s part of the reason why it’s helpful to have some kind of coffee hour after the worship service is over to allow for those conversations and connections to occur.
6. Improve Your Facilities.
Now, for some of you that requires capital outlay, but for others of you, it just requires cleanup.
For one church that I gave some materials to, they actually walked through their church building with the eyes of a first-time visitor.
They noticed a closet over the corner.
It was the unofficial lost and found junk room catch “everything that did not have a place” corner. When they looked at it through the eyes of a visitor it was just simply a giant rat’s nest, a giant pile that was over the corner.
They cleaned it up.
When they cleaned it up, they noticed that the carpet had holes in it. They replaced it. They noticed that the baseboards were falling off, so they cleaned that up as well.
By working on cleaning up that little corner there was a difference.
For some of you improving your facility is cleaning up the junk room or cleaning up the bathroom or just putting some fresh paint.
Another sanctuary had paneling that was falling off the wall. Everybody had gotten used to seeing it, but when they saw it through the eyes of the first-time visitor, they were motivated to change. They raised some money and they actually took all the paneling down and hung up dry wall instead.
This might mean some capital improvement but the idea is to take some of the rough edges off your facility. You can do that by looking at your facility through the eyes of a first-time visitor.
Take a church hospitality audit.
7. Develop your follow up System
You can’t influence a visitor for Christ long term if they don’t come back a second time.
There are systems that you can use to develop to help your visitor come back and make that second visit.
That, of course, starts with getting contact information and what you do with the visitor after they leave the Sunday morning service.
Watch this video to see what we learned about follow up via first hand experience
8. Schedule a training for your volunteers
Your hospitality ministries have a lot of volunteers.
It’s very volunteer intensive, whether it’s running the administration of it, whether it’s running the greeter ministry or the welcome center or the child care worker or the ushers or whatever.
I’ve talked to a lot of churches in the last three years where their greeter, usher, volunteer ministry is just something that has been happening, but they have never had any training. They don’t have a scheduled training.
Your brand new greeters that you recruit are sometimes too embarrassed to ask you, “What do I do?”
So they go to Google and they search ‘what does a greeter do’ and they find me. It is clear to me that there new greeters are too nervous to ask, “What am I supposed to do?”
When churches launch a training meeting, it provides a place for reinvigorating some of the ministry as well as a place for new people to come on board who want to express their hospitality gifts, but they don’t know how to do it.
9. Thank Your Volunteers
We know that, but we don’t often do it and your volunteers love to be appreciated to be affirmed in what they do.
Some like to be appreciated in public, others like to be appreciated in private. A good administrator will be able to pick up which way they like to do and act into that.
10. Create invitable events
Launch a sermon series or something where all your hospitality systems can be on display.
When you are launching a big event, you are building momentum.
When you are building the momentum, one of the things that you want to improve is improve your hospitality and improve your systems and all of that kind of good stuff so the big event becomes the trigger system to launch.
If your teams are at a place where you want to improve your hospitality ministries for next year, consider these resources from EvangelismCoach.org to help you
1. Church Hospitality Review, Audio Download (MP3): ($9.97)
Is your church hospitality still running in tip-top shape to welcome and receive new visitors? Are your church hospitality processes flowing smoothly, or is stuff falling through the cracks? Your systems and processes for your church’s hospitality can always be improved, and decaying systems can be refreshed.
In this 70 minute audio MP3, you’ll be able to review your entire system. Order https://www.evangelismcoach.org/store/audio-hospitality-systems-review/
2. Vision Casting for Hospitality Audio Download (MP3): ($9.97)
Are your visitors being welcomed, or overlooked by most of the people in your congregation? Do you hospitality systems still feel disorganized because your volunteers lack vision?
In this 78 minute audio MP3, you’ll hear 14 ways to cast vision for hospitality in your congregation and help it rediscover a passion for hospitality.
Order your download at https://www.evangelismcoach.org/store/audio-cast-a-vision-for-hospitality
3. Book: Church Greeters 101
Are you leading a team of greeters that seems unmotivated, disorganized, inefficient and ineffective? Or maybe you don’t even have a team of greeters yet. Church Greeters helps you put the pieces together to organize, train, and keep your greeters equipped and motivated to receive your guests and members.
I love hospitality and love meeting and greeting people. My church does not have a hospitality ministry, so Im looking to start a meet and greet Center for our first time church guest. Thank you for the information you have already provided for me to get started. Very, helpful information and valuable to me. If there’s any other recommendatations you would like to share with me, please fell free to contact me at the email I have provided. firstname.lastname@example.org
Grateful, Rosa Pierson
Thank you for some valuable information. I am just taking over the Hospitality Ministry at my church with new responsibilities and few volunteers. I have to create a Vision and Mission Plan as well as recruit, so I am particularly grateful for all the information I received on this site. God bless!
Iam a leader in my church for hospitality ministry.thank you for all the information really help me.
Soon to be a part of My Churches Hospitality Ministry. Thank you for Caring Enough to Share Your Many Ideas with Those Of Us Who May Need some Help in This area. Blessings
I am a minister of God in the church where i worship and i want you to send me every neccessery information on church growth, evangelism and follow up e.t.c because by December this year i will be made a parish pastor of our new branch that will be open that same month. Thanks
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Thanks for your priceless information.
You are welcome, thank you for stopping by. . .
Hi im a leader in my church and co president of our usher and greeters board. It has been stagnet for years . In desperate need of help and ideas on how to recruit and make it more organized. Thank u. I appreciate all the advise u can give. Soo. Gratful.
Rose, here are over 1000 articles on my website to help you find different ways to make your church grow. Hospitality is one channel, and personal evangelism is another. Which one would you like to start with?
Hospitality: start here: https://www.evangelismcoach.org/fix-your-church-hospitality/
Personal Evangelismm: Start here: https://www.evangelismcoach.org/personal-evangelism-101/
I have been assigned to be a hospitalityy leader and the functions that have been given to me does not include some of the things you mention like, greeters, ushers. My hospitality position was described to be in charge of the overall duties of the fellowship hall which would include setting up and executing mainly kitchen duties for special events, visiting speakers, pastors, ordinations, etc.
I’M not sure how to direct the volunteers into their choosen duties. I plan on having a meeting with all volunteers and asking them in what area they would be interested in but am not sure what areas are needed to be covered. Stocking the kitchen, setting up food, serveing food, clean up,set up and break down of tables, Have I covered most responsibilites?
Thanks for writing in, Ramona. I’ve been away on mission. . . for the niche of hospitality that you write about (food service at the church), you have covered most of the areas. The specific steps are up to your team, but all volunteers should be on the friendly side and know how to relate and serve guests. .
Thanks brother Chris for your articles on Hospitality Ministry. I learnt so much by reading them and all the ideas you have freely shared really gives me the motivation i need to take my church to a greater level in the area of showing Hospitality. In my church, there are different departments and heads for Ushers (door greeters), Hospitality (serving Coffee and snacks) and New Comers Welcome Team (Guest/ First-Timers) of which i am heading. At present all three departments are running independently of one another. My question is will this set up really work? Or should it be under one department namely Hospitality Ministry? Thank you brother Chris.
Great questions John.
For me, what is functional trumps any rules of organzation. That being said, are your independent teams moving to the same goal of creating that great welcome? Do your teams have cross over responsibilities that require coordination and communication?
For smaller churches, independence is unlikely because people cover multiple basis.
In larger churches, independence via specializations is a practical matter but someone still oversees it all. Greeters at the Door have their own training and ushers have their own trainings on special details, but all get regular ongoing vision training.