A church greeter I never met invaded my personal space.
An apathetic church greeter gave me a bulletin while talking to a friend.
A church greeter wore so much cologne that my eyes watered when standing in his presence.
A search of Twitter reveals that church greeters can say the dumbest things.
The mistakes of church greeters was one reason a family quit going to church and raised their children without faith in Christ.
Another family remembers the pain they felt in being ignored.
Church Greeter failures harm the vision
Any hospitality ministry leader will eventually encounter greeter volunteers:
- who aren’t giving their best
- who neglect your guests
- don’t think of their impact on the lives of your members or visitors.
You are the welcome ministry leader. Your heart beats with a vision of what awesome church hospitality can do.
- You know that awesome hospitality can lead to your guests inviting friends.
- You have poured your heart out in prayer for your church visitors to come.
- You’ve prayed for your church members to be inviting others to come to church.
- You’ve thought about ways to measure the impact of your hospitality ministry.
It breaks your heart that an awesome ministry experience was not achieved because of an careless greeter or other volunteers in your welcome ministry.
Give constructive feedback to your church greeters
One of the hard roles of a church hospitality ministry leader is to correct behavior that can have long reaching negative consequences.
Let me give you a few tips I’ve used to provide feedback to church greeters and correction to careless mistakes by hospitality ministry volunteers.
1. Remind them of your hospitality vision.
Personally meet with your volunteer and refresh the vision of awesome hospitality.
Describe what you want the hospitality ministry to look like.
Remind them of the power of hospitality to affect the life and faith journey of people attending your church.
Help your volunteers find their “why?” by reinforcing the vision of life impact that is possible through a warm welcome.
Become a seeker of great welcome stories and use them!
This is what a job well done looks like as Nahdia tells her story of how she found her spiritual home.
The church has done a great job in casting a vision for hospitality throughout all it’s volunteer base.
2. Give all feedback in love.
Our goal for feedback to your church greeters is to build them up for their service in the ministry.
When your volunteer knows that you love them and that you want their best, your feedback is often heard well.
One way to have that feedback conversation is to ask questions about their church greeter work. Ask them to share with you
- How their ministry is going.
- How they think their service is blessing guests.
- Where they are having difficulties as a volunteer.
- How they think they could improve to be a better blessing.
Taking notes during such a conversation can communicate love and value. Their responses are important to YOU.
3. Invite your volunteers into excellence.
You can invite excellence by asking good questions. For example:
- How do you think this task can be made more effective?
- Have you tried doing _______________ this way?
At the church we attend, we constantly remind people that “Excellence increases influence.” If the goal is to influence a life, then excellence plays a role.
4. Include positive feedback if possible.
Always include positive feedback in your conversations. Give positive examples of what is working well and share how pleased you are with the right stuff.
Such positive feedback can reinforce good skills, and even motivate a volunteer to better heights of service.
5. Cover that corrective conversation in prayer.
Prayer prepares the way.
Prayer prepares your heart.
Prayer gives you the time to get God’s heart for your volunteer and for the ministry.
Prayer also gives you a sense of perspective about God’s work in the life of your church and the volunteers.
6. Remind the entire team of excellence you expect.
I recommend a regular series of vision casting meetings with your hospitality team.
I suggest a schedule of at least 3 times a year.
In such meetings, you’ll have
- an easy on-ramp for new volunteers,
- a place to provide practical tips for all volunteers,
- a place to refresh the vision for an awesome welcome, and
- a place to layout your expectations of the work that you expect your volunteers to give.
Call Your Volunteers to the best hospitality ministry
You carry the value of hospitality as one of the core values of your church. You’ll need to regularly call your volunteers back to a high level of service.
It’s a recurring cycle in your leadership:
- People rise to the occasion
- They slow down and slack off when accustomed to a routine
- You’ve got to call them forward to better service.
It is your role to make sure these church hospitality stories do not exist in your congregation.
As a ministry leader, would you share with us other tips in how to provide constructive feedback? I invite your comments below.
What one tip would you add?
Help your church greeters with this set of DVDs (or download).
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.
Hello Chris, God bless you for your valuable Hospitality insight, articles, & love for this particular ministry.
I’ve started our Hospitality team 3/4/18 with 16 greeters. I very proud if the team’s dedication, & work.
I plan to have quarterly training sessions, to reinforce your materials, values. Yes, have a couple slackers, with this timely article, I believe I can address future issues!!
I have a file of your articles, which would you recommend best for our next training? Would you agree if I periodically travel to highly successful greeter churches to help boost our greeter services?
Thank you Chris Walker, God Bless you!!!!
Thanks Joe. Quarterly is helpful. Some do it every 4 months so it’s 3x a year, usually a few weeks prior to the big invite seasons like Christmas, Easter, and Back to School
Thank you very much for sharing this inspiring article. We began our ministry of welcome at the beginning of March of that year. It has been wonderful to see what God is doing in our church. We are a Baptist church in the interior of Brazil, but it is connected in the vision that you have taught us. Hugs.
Just one small thing … The family who quit coming to church because of a greeter … well, there is more to their decision, surely!
Kay, it was the lack of welcome in general from visiting several churches over the course of weeks. The line they shared with me: “No one said hello.”
While it would be an extreme reaction to be offended by ONE thing, and therefore easy to dismiss such a person as hypersensitive, I don’t ever want to be PART of any reason, or give any cause to why a visitor would reject our church.
The gospel can be offensive, but we volunteers shouldn’t be. Let the gospel be the people reason choose not to come back, not our cold tolerance of the presence of visitors.
Really encouraging post, Chris! Thanks for the reminder of the importance of a warm welcome. Nahdia’s story was particularly inspiring. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the great work.
Thank you for your well done videos. Even us older greeters need to be reminded of the very basics. My wife and I lost our 21 year old son in a tragic motorcycle accident. We had been attending church but felt that as part of our grieving, we would visit a different church where we didn’t know anybody, and we could cry if we needed, as part of our grieving. Now a word of advice to greeters. Be careful of what you say when you don’t know the visitor. About 3 weeks after our loss, we visited a different large church,were handed a bulletin and the greeter thought he was being friendly when he said, Why the glum look, surely you can be happy about something. He didn’t know us so I can’t fault him for trying to make us smile but we were not ready to joke with a complete stranger.