Recently, I was asked the following question via Ask The EvangelismCoach.
I’ve posted this to the community Facebook Page, but wanted to give you all a chance to help pitch in. I hope to do this on a more regular basis.
Ask EvangelismCoach Question from Ed:
“How do we greet late comers?
Do we need to mention that worship service has started?”
The basic principle that guides all your hospitality ministry is respect for the person coming late.
I have been in some churches where ushers close the sanctuary doors when the service starts, and then reopen them at certain points for latecomers.
Typically, they politely mention that the service has started. It’s an explanation for the shut doors and the pause before entering. They mention that in a few minutes, they will let people in at an upcoming point in the service. It is part of their custom and practice.
I have been in some churches where people come in and go out at all points of the service. Ushers seat them at any time. The causal nature of these churches don’t really require an explanation about how the service has already started.
Above all, the key point is respect for the latecomer and finding ways to communicate respect and honor.
We certainly don’t want to communicate: “Your are LATE!”
Add your comments below to help answer Ed’s question.
What would you say to Ed?
I would just greet with a smile and say “So glad you’re here!” I think that works well. Non-judgmental and welcoming.
Now when your members start showing up 20-30 minutes late on a regular basis, it is a real challenge for me to be polite. Perhaps some of you have had that challenge too?
The basic principle remains the same – treat people with respect.
I think it may be important to keep in mind that some people may be latecomers because they have a special needs child at home or someone to take care of. I have a son with autism. We have good mornings and sometimes bad mornings. It can be a challenge to get to service right on time. I say be welcoming to everyone regardless if they are late or not … thanks be to God they came!
Good point. . . Thanks for sharing.
I’ve been a late comer several times, and other times I’ve been really early.
The key is friendliness to help your member or visitor find their seat so they may enjoy the entire worship experience.
I thought this article would be how to respond to Latecomers to Christ, and the amusing responses it’d generate.
For example. Say… the person who was ORIGINALLY an Unbeliever before, did drugs, indulged in all kinds of sexual sin or just produced some pretty twisted pieces of media for the sake of evil. Then, like the blink of an eye, suddenly he’s all “Bright Eyed”, finding Christ and showing up to Church like all that shit he did before didn’t even happen.
Exactly HOW would a person respond to that? A person with THAT much Crap past them, and you’d actually just FORGIVE AND ACCEPT them in spite of what THEY DID IN THE PAST, rather than TURNING THEM AWAY?
Yes, I’m getting carried away. I thought at least there’d be ONE article like that. Don’t label me as “Believer” or “Non”.
I just wanted to see if it existed, and if it provoked a very valid response.
This particular article is aimed at those who are perpetually 20-30 minutes late to service, as you gathered. But you’ve given me a great idea.
As a regular church goer, I have been late multiple times over the years and have experienced the judgement that accompanies being late. I have often thought we should be so happy a person came to church, late or not, that we open our hearts and say, “Welcome, we are glad you are here; let me help you find you a good seat.” It is better to have someone come late because they long to hear the word of God and be with his people than to decide to stay home because they worry about incurring disapproving looks and judgement. The Lord is the judge, and I don’t think his spiritual standard for entrance into his kingdom is punctuality. 🙂
I want all people who are late to church to know that it is disrespectful not only to God but to those who are on time. we now have to switch our focus off the message and now focus on you and your family. stop being rude and be on time