The problem that many of our churches face is that church visitors do not come back for the second or third time.
Besides the practical work of training volunteers and casting vision for a great welcome, there is the spiritual work.
Prayer is the spiritual work
Prayer is ultimately a spiritual work.
Great church hospitality is ultimately a great spiritual work.
It is all facilitated by the work of prayer.
I would encourage your church hospitality teams to dedicate some time to praying for this area of your church.
Do not simply open your meetings in prayer, but labor in prayer asking God to bring people to faith in your congregation.
Four avenues of prayer for your church’s hospitality ministry
Here are four ways or four directions to pray for an increase in effective hospitality in your church.
1. Pray for your team
Spend time at your team level or your committee level praying for the work of hospitality in your congregation.
Take time during your committee meetings or take time at a particular time during the day when your leadership team prays that your church would get hold of God’s heart for the visitor.
Pray that your team would be successful in casting that vision to greeters and to the congregation.
Pray that you would be able to find creative ways to meet the practical needs of the visitors who come.
Pray for the volunteers that serve in the ministry to have God’s heart for the visitor and that they would be blessed through their acts of service.
2. Pray for your church
More specifically, pray for your church and its members.
Pray that they would welcome the visitors that God sends.
Pray that they would have the eyes to see the visitors in their midst.
Pray that they would get the vision of hospitality as the pastor casts it.
Pray that they won’t put up unnecessary stumbling blocks or barriers to visitors.
Pray they would get the vision as you do training meetings for your members.
A few days ago, I spent some time coaching a pastor who took a sabbatical. As he visited other churches, he began to realize the power of hospitality and now he wants to communicate that to the members of his congregation that they may be able to get that.
But part of casting that vision involves praying ahead of time.
3. Pray for the invitations your church members make
Perhaps you are launching a sermon series or you have got special events that are coming up and you are encouraging your members to invite.
Here are 10 ways that you can pray for those invitations.
4. Pray for your visitors
You can pray that they would experience the message and worship.
Pray that they would encounter the Presence of God in the midst of all of that.
Pray that they would hear the message of the sermon and that they would grow one step closer to God.
Pray that they would experience the warmth of your congregation, that they would experience the sacred Presence of God as they go through the worship service, and that they would be drawn to come back for a second or third visit.
Churches need to get the core values of church hospitality:
- Visitors are a gift from God.
- We have the privilege of influencing their journey to faith.
- We can lead them to Christ.
- We can help them find a place to serve.
But that happens only if our church
- welcomes visitors,
- loves the church visitor,
- serves the first-time church guest, and
- works at including them in the Body and help them to grow.
We don’t want to make it unnecessarily uncomfortable for our guests.
We don’t want our behavior to make our guests decide not to come back.
Our church visitors might be offended by the claims of Jesus Christ, but that is different from the unnecessary offense that our members might create against visitors who come for the very first time.
Growing effective hospitality ministry is one way that we can improve our congregation and one way that we might help improve our visitor retention rate.
Gather your team and spend the next 30 days in prayer for the hospitality ministries of your church.
Agree to pray at the same time each day.
Send your team a reminder email or text message near the appointment time. Use some scripture verses on hospitality to shape your prayer.
Pray and watch what God will do.
Reignite Your First Impressions Ministry
We all want our church visitors to come back. But to get that to happen you need to improve your first impression ministries.
But where do you start?
Get these 7 Secrets to Effective Church Hospitality to give you starting points and ideas that you can implement this weekend.