Imagine that you are a lay person in your congregation (many of you are).
Your pastor calls you on Thursday and says
We are preparing the church bulletin.
Would you like to be our liturgist and give the welcome speech on Sunday?
Would you like to be person who says “Welcome to our church?”
Your heart races, the mouth goes dry.
Me? I have to say something in front of all those people?
But since you want to
- please the pastor, or
- volunteer your time, or
- practice good church hospitality because you know its the right thing to do,
you suspend your fear for just a moment and say yes.
What will you say to welcome people to your church?
How do I say a welcome at church?
When you hang up the phone you race to Google and type in something like:
- How to Say the Welcome at/in Church
- How can I say a/the welcome in a church
- How do you say a church welcome at church functions
- How to do church greeting
- How to give a welcome address in the church
- How to give welcome address for church visitors
- How to give a church welcome
- How to give welcome speeches for church visitors
I know, because this question and variants are common for my website and in my coaching practice. I was surprised by the number of queries asked of me, so let me give you some tips.
5 Tips to prepare your welcome speech for church
1. Give up the search for the magic formula.
I wish I could give you a script. I’m often asked for a script.
You might even be looking for sample welcome speeches to give at church.
But churches are so unique, each church visitor is unique, every person who does this unique, and every worship service is unique.
Even the location or timing of the greeting is so unique to every church.
Some give this welcome greeting at the beginning of the service. Other welcome speeches occur in the middle of the service and tied to an announcement about their connection card. Some even put this welcome at the very end of their church service.
What you will say in your welcome speech at church is dependent on lots of other variables.
2. Think like a first-time church visitor.
As you think about what to include in your greetings, think about your church welcome speech with the visitors in your mind.
Once first-time church visitors get to the sanctuary and are participating in the worship service, first-time church visitors have common questions.
- Will I fit in here with this group of people?
- Is this a place where I can serve?
- How do I get more information about this church?
- Will this place help me grow in my relationship with God?
Depending on where your welcome or greeting speech for visitors is located in the service, you may want to address one or two of those typical questions.
3. Typical parts of a church welcome speech.
Your welcome speech doesn’t have to be long at all.
Most church welcome speeches start with some kind of acknowledgment or appreciation of the visitor’s presence.
- If you are here for the first time today, we’re glad you are here.
- We want to give a special welcome to our first time visitors today.
Some may then move on to address a potential fear in the mind of a church visitor at this point. For example
- We won’t make you stand up if you don’t want to . . . .
- We want to give you space to be as anonymous as you want . . .
Some may then move on to how to learn more. For example
- We invite you to visit the welcome center.
- If you’ll raise your hand, the ushers will give you a welcome packet that we’ve prepared just for you.
- If you’ll fill out your connection card, we’d love to send you a gift.
Some move into an invitation to some volunteer mission work or connection point that is upcoming.
- We are serving in the community next Saturday. We invite you to come serve with us. You’ll meet more people who might just be the ones to help you grow in your faith.
- This Friday, we’re having a newcomers gathering at the pastor’s house. Come and meet new people and get some of your questions answered.
4. Invite them to join your church’s mission
That last part is a big deal for me.
I don’t know about you, but the generic “we are here to serve you” speech falls on my deaf ears.
I find that the more and more I hear that, the less I pay attention.
“I don’t know how the church can serve me. I know nothing about it. I don’t know their programs, I don’t know their people. They don’t know me.”
What catches my attention is the church’s mission and programming.
What is your church’s unique mission and how are you expressing that in your programing in the next few weeks.
Think like a visitor.
What would motivate you to explore more of the church’s programming / service
- We are here to serve you.
- We are serving the community this next Saturday and you are invited to serve with us.
You don’t need to cover every announcement every week, but pick one program expression that you want to invite people to.
This is simply suggesting a next step in a first time church visitors process of connecting with your church.
5. Cover your visitor welcome speech with prayer.
As you prepare your welcome greeting, pray for your part in the service.
Your part is one of many that the Lord may choose to use in helping people make another step of growth in their spiritual journey.
If you are a layperson, pray that the Lord will give you the right words for that particular crowd on that particular worship service on that particular day.
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.
Let me ask you this?
What advice would you give to someone who is nervous about composing or giving a church welcome speech? Use the comment field below