Many church members, pastors and greeters have forgotten what it is like to be a church visitor.
When our family moved in 2014, I got to experience first hand being a first time visitor.
I used those church shopping experiences to grow empathy for their plight and to develop a quick list to help you improve your welcome.
1. Understand the mind of a guest.
They want to feel welcome.
But, they don’t want to be pressured to give, join, or serve during their initial visits.
They want to observe our church service and be provided an easy opening if they choose to come again.
Nine out of 10 of your first time visitors prefer to remain anonymous:
Only 11 percent said they would be willing to identify themselves as a visitor when visiting a church for the first time and 63 percent said they would prefer to wait until at least the second visit to let anyone know they are visiting.
Wanting a less formal introduction, 26 percent of formerly churched adults said they desire to slip in and casually introduce themselves after the service.Study: New Visitors Prefer Anonymity. (Christian Post citing August 2006 Lifeway Study)
2. Welcome everyone.
Newcomers need your warm welcome.
Regulars attenders also need a friendly greeting.
Be enthusiastic – about the day, the worship that is about to take place, about Christ.
3. Anticipate newcomers.
When people enter the door who you do not recognize, approach them by saying something like, “We’re glad to have you here today. I don’t recall meeting you before.”
Avoid “Is this your first time?” You might embarrass yourself or offend a regular attender.
4. Connect newcomers.
While you are getting to know them, introduce guests to another regular attender who walks in and suggest they sit together, or feel free to invite first time visitors to sit with you.
Plan ahead for how your visitors might make a new friend.
5. Say goodbye with warmth.
After the service, bid farewell to visitors, inviting them to return next week. Ask them if they have any questions. Introduce them to other members and to the pastor. After visitors are gone, feel free to visit with people.
6. Avoid Church Business.
Avoid using pre or post service activities to conduct church business that could be done over the phone during the week. Focus on visitors.
Let me ask you this
- How do you meet and greet visitors?
- What would you add to this list?
Check out this resource
How to Welcome Church Visitors is a compilation of several church hospitality articles all in one place formatted into one ebook.
It is for church hospitality committees, leaders, and greeters that need to get a fresh vision for welcoming the visitor who comes to your church.
If you are in a hurry, without enough time to read all the hospitality articles here, get your copy of How To Welcome Church Visitors