At the beginning of every year, people make New Year’s resolutions. Some want to start growing spiritually and they will check out churches that might help them grow.
Around Christmas time, Mother’s Day, and Easter, your church will also have a surge of first-time visitors. Some will be guests, but some will use that occasion to try church again.
Throughout the year, someone will attend your church for the first time. Whatever their spiritual thirst propelled them to visit a local church – they chose yours.
Are you prepared for their visit?
Are you ready to receive them and welcome them with the love and message of Jesus Christ?
I want to give you 5 areas to consider improving your welcome for your first-time visitors.
1. Trained Greeters
Church Greeters can provide a warm greeting, provide helpful information when needed, and walk guests to classrooms or the sanctuary or auditorium.
A good greeting is more than a hello. It is a first impression.
Action: You can get the 2 DVD Combo Set of Greeter Training DVDs from the store as a potential resource.
Read more: Your Journey to Faith Story
2. Recast a Hospitality Vision
Being friendly to your church visitor means that the church family is listening, inviting, encouraging, and caring.
Action: Help them get that vision for hospitality by casting it when you can in sermons, meetings, and Sunday school classes.
Church visitors should be greeted by someone around them, not just the greeter at the door.
3. Welcome Packet
Prepare welcome packets for your guest.
Action: Read How to Prepare a Welcome Packet, perpetually one of the top ten articles on this website each year since I wrote it.
Include current information on upcoming programs and an invitation to meet with the pastor.
Include the ONE simple next step visitors can take to build a relationship with your church family.
4. Have a reception after the service.
Have a coffee/snack reception after the service. In larger churches, this might be making coffee/tea/water/snacks available in the lobby. Make sure there are seating areas for people to sit and visit.
This allows time for conversations with your church visitors to occur, for prayer to happen, and for your guests to meet with the pastors.
In the small churches I served, this usually happened after the worship service.
In the large church where I served, three services on a Sunday gave little time for a reception. Instead, they provided beverage stations and different seating areas around the lobby for this to happen. The staff always wandered around meeting people between services.
Action: If you don’t have one, work with your hospitality committee to start one.
5. Post Visit Welcome Letter
Be sure to include an invitation to return to the next worship service, as well as some upcoming events or services.
Don’t bother with “we are here to serve you if you need anything.”
Instead, invite them to join you on a mission or upcoming event. For example, “We believe in serving our neighborhood and being the best church for the community. This month on [date] we’re going to serve the homeless and invite you to join us on that mission.”
What are some areas that you would add? Please share them in the comments below.
Do you want to discuss where your hospitality system is stuck? I offer a coaching call where I spend time on the phone with you or your committee, up to 90 minutes, where I help you troubleshoot and develop some action plans. I can help you review your systems through a step-by-step flow chart that I’ve developed. Read more about hospitality coaching here.