This book is written by Thom Rainer entitled “Becoming a Welcoming Church.” As with the last book I will be adding a chapter a day for us to consider. I am in no way saying our church or your church if you are reading this is not welcoming – just something to think about. I am capitalizing the chapter sections.
GREETERS, WELCOME CENTERS, AND THE WELCOMING CHURCH – CHAPTER 5
WHY DO WE EVEN NEED GREETERS?
“We therefore need greeters for three reasons:”
- It’s a focused ministry. We need people in ministry whose sole focus at the moment is greeting people. We need members who understand greeters do more than merely saluting people upon their arrival: we need them praying for the encounters they have each week.
- It moves people to strategic locations. A greeter is a leader in ministry.
- It commits volunteers to specific times.
STRATEGIC LOCATIONS FOR GREETERS
- The parking lot. Parking lot greeters are essential, their role may be to simply wave and smile.
- The entrance.
- The roaming greeter.
- The worship center greeters. We heard it said often “guests feel uncomfortable once they enter the worship center.” Typically no one sits with them, no one speaks them anymore.
COMMON MISTAKES OF GREETERS
You can learn from this book mistakes other churches made in greeting ministries.
- Holy Huddles – members only talking to each other,
- Arriving too late, leaving to early. Greeters should delay entering the worship center in order to greet late arrivers and then be available for greeting them on the way out.
- Failing to introduce yourself. Call them by name but be sure it is their name.
THE WELCOME CENTER
Every church should have a welcome center. No exceptions. None. The welcome center serves many purposes but should always be viewed rom the perspective of a guest.
- It can be simple,
- It should be manned when guests are present,
- It should have information about the church,
- It should have gifts, when a person takes home a gift, he or she is more likely to return.
- It should have pens,
- It may have treats, Rainer says if he gets chocolate from a church he is going back,
- No welcome center is complete without a “lot” of coffee.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION FACTOR
Greeters and welcome centers send a clear message to guests, “we are expecting you.” They are critical to a first-time visitor.
Greeters and welcome centers, however, say even more. They don’t just say. “We’re expecting you,” they say, “We want you here.” And a guest who feels wanted and welcomed is a guest who will likely return. It is really that important.
POINTS TO PONDER
- On a scale of one to ten how would you grade our welcoming teams ministry?
- Are there any changes you would make?
- In the early church culture, it was common to greet one another with a ‘holy kiss’ such as is portrayed in 1 Thessalonians 5:26. “Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.” (NLT). Why do you think the Bible exhorts us to greet all people.
- Pretend you are a guest at your church for the first time is the signage adequate for you find your way around?
- What do you see as the importance of greeters?