Several months ago, a church greeter kissed my wife.
Other church greeters failed to make eye contact.
We startled a church greeter by asking her a simple question
“Where is the middle school Sunday school class meeting?”
She didn’t know the answer and we created an awkward moment.
As the hospitality ministry leader, it is important that you give constructive feedback to your church greeters.
This includes feedback on hugs, kisses, pats on the shoulder or arm, and handshakes — all of which have the potential to invade a guest’s personal space.
Mark Waltz makes a valuable contribution to this discussion of church greeter tips with a recent article shared from his book How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Meaningful Ways to Make a First Impression (Group Publishing):
It’s really simpler than you think. Not everyone wants to have their hand shaken. Churched people want handshakes (unless there’s a flu epidemic, then no one wants a handshake); people new to your church may only want a courteous “hello.” Read the body language of your guests to determine an appropriate greeting.
- Both hands are buried deeply in his pockets. He doesn’t want to shake your hand.
- A parent is holding tightly to their kids hands. Don’t offer a handshake.
- Her eyes are focused on the carpet. She doesn’t want to make eye contact. Probably not going to shake her hand. You may not even get the opportunity to speak as she passes.
- He’s answering as briefly as possible while glancing at his watch every three seconds. He’s not into your conversation. Don’t trap him; let him go on his way.
- He stepped into the lobby and stopped for two seconds as he surveyed the space cautiously. He’s likely new.Approach him with a personal introduction and a handshake.
- She’s reading the weekend program (or bulletin) word for word. She’s new. No one in your church reads it thoroughly. Opportunity to connect.
- He’s standing alone in the hallway. Good chance he’s waiting for his lady who’s in the restroom. He hates this wait. He feels conspicuous. Eliminate the mystery: “Will someone try to talk to me?” Put him out of his misery. Introduce yourself.
Make instant assessments. If your guest is communicating, “Leave me alone.” Listen. Otherwise, extend a personal welcome.
Source: Mark Waltz
Not every church visitor wants a handshake.
Not every church visitor wants a hug.
Not every church visitor wants a shoulder touch from a stranger.
Your church greeters could put aside their personal preferences (as in “Oh, Give me a Hug! I’m a hugger.”) and make sure they respect the personal space of a guest.
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.
Church greeters can create really awkward moments:
- Invasion of personal space
- Grooming Habits
- Grumpy Frowns
- Lack of Eye Contact
New church greeters can be
- A little intimidated
- Not sure how to respond
- Not sure what to say or how to talk to a complete stranger.
It does not have to be this way.
Learn Church Greeter Tips
Use them in your hospitality meetings.
Use these to inspire your own training.
Greeter Training #1 helps church greeters:
- The vision of Greeting Ministry
- 5 Verbs Every Greeter Must Know
- Conversational Small Talk for Nervous Greeters
- Saying Goodbye with Style
- 2 keys to an effective welcome
- 2 Recruiting Tips
- Q&A on post service receptions, new Christians, and more.
Greeter Training #2 helps your greeters:
- How not to appear on a list of crazy things greeters do to embarrass visitors.
- More conversational small talk for nervous greeters
- Ways to recognize visitors in a large or small church <—biggest question
- How to be a good church greeter
- The role of greeter in the church welcome
- 5 Ways to Grow as a Greeter
Several people have found these training videos very helpful to:
- Show as part of your own training meeting
- Inspire additional creativity on your part for a training.
- One took the 5 Verbs from the Training #1 and made a bookmark.
- They are recorded narrated presentations from an online class.
Each one is approximately 1 hour long.
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