It was our third visit to a local church in the last 102 weeks.
We love visiting that church when we are in that city. In fact, whenever we go, we try to invite a friend to that church.
But this visit produced a moment of social awkwardness with an overly enthusiastic greeter.
As we approached the front door, the church greeter raised her hands in joy (she was REALLY happy to be serving).
She then grabbed my wife’s head and planted a big ol’ kiss on the cheek.
This was then followed up with a somewhat loud declaration: “It’s so great to be with God’s people today.”
That was weird, and completely unexpected. It won’t drive us away, but that greeter was a little over the top.
Lessons learned for your Church Greeter ministry
1. Not everyone loves a hug or a kiss.
We attend many different churches in various cultures because I am in an international ministry.
In several Hispanic churches that I have visited, an air kiss on the cheek happens only after parties have been introduced to each other. It is an awkward moment when that happens before you are introduced.
In many North American churches, the air kiss between strangers doesn’t happen when people first meet.
But besides local customs, the invasion of personal space that happens can be an unintentional barrier that your greeter creates with your guest.
Other things in your service will need to overcome that awkwardness, or that may be the only thing that visitor remembers.
Here is a similar tweet:
Nothing quite ruins my Sunday church experience like the 65 year old greeter who tries to mouth kiss me every time I go.
2. Train your greeters to set aside their preferences.
If your greeter volunteers object with “I’m a hugger” or “I’m a kisser,” have them set aside their personal preferences for the comfort of your guests.
My wife once hugged a pre-teen boy when greeting. As soon as she embraced him, she felt him tense up. She learned from that lesson that not every one wants a hug, a kiss, or even a handshake.
Greeters don’t need to accidentally violate that person’s sense of personal space because of who they themselves are.
Set aside your personal preferences for a more normal greeting that is custom to where your church is.
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Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo