When a new person enters a church, they want to feel welcome. That is not just true for churches, anytime anyone goes anywhere they want to feel welcome, it is human nature. There are many things your church can do to help with that, and many things that can hurt your welcoming atmosphere. This post will go through some advice on how to do it.
The most important thing is the personal welcome. If I am visiting a big church, I might expect to accidentally fall through the cracks. However, if I am in a small church, someone should say hello to me. I have been to small churches, and had to introduce myself to people. Personally, I thought that was unacceptable. They knew I was a visitor, going up and saying hello should be easy. Many bigger churches have designated people to welcome new visitors. I like that idea, but make sure those people are actually good at talking to new people. I have been to churches where I knew it was someone’s given job to talk to the new people, but they were not good at it. I could tell they were trying, but they did not know what to say.
How to Personally Welcome
This is a lot like the post How to be the Life of a Christian Party. Go up to a person, shake their hand, tell them your name, and ask for theirs. My personal pet peeve is when a person asks for someone else’s name, and does not give theirs first. I think it is just good etiquet to give your name first. Then start with a conversation of how they got their, where they are from, what they do. You can start with anything. The purpose is to get the conversation going, you can transition to a better topic later.
Many churches have visitor cards. If you have outstanding people welcoming people, you will not really need it. They will get the person’s contact information in the middle of the conversation. However people who are that good at welcoming are hard to find, so you will probably need a visitor card. It should have basic contact info from the person. How they got there. What they are looking for in a church, and any prayer requests. One thing not to have on the card is to ask for there spouses name. It alianates the single people. It really alienates the people that choose to go to church even though their spouse does not. I can gaurentee that people in that situation, will be put off by that question.
Something to Invite Them To
It is great to have something going on to invite them to immediately the first time they visit. It makes people feel wanted and want to come back. It can be anything, a sport, dinner, or service opertunitiy. It makes the person feel more conected to the church. Everyone likes to be invited, even if they turn you down, it still makes them feel good.
After someone has visited, a followup call is a good idea. This is a job for a friendly person. You do not want just a boring conversation, give this to a person that can have a light conversation with anyone. Once again, have something to invite them to.
The most important thing of welcoming people, is that you actually welcome people. Go up and have a conversation. Show that your church wants to be a church that is growing. Not just another dead church that is content with the people they have and practice exclusivity.