Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!Hebrews 13:2
As a kid, my dad and mom pastored a church in a rural farm town in California. I remember a slogan that was stenciled in big letters on the back of the church’s bus that every Sunday picked up children for Sunday school. It read, “Follow Us to A Friendly Church.” Every week the church was put to the test.
I am pleased to report that churches are beginning to regather for in-person services. There is a renewed awareness of the value of being together for worship, teaching, and fellowship. This is a perfect time to pause and reconsider ways we can raise the warm and welcoming factor.
Thom Rainer recently shared, “A genuinely friendly church has a guest return rate six times greater than other churches.” That makes sense. You and I are more likely to return a second time to a church if we have a positive experience.
8 WAYS TO ELEVATE YOUR WELCOME:
- BE A MODEL OF WARMTH AND FRIENDLINESS AS PASTORS: Prayerfully become a genuinely friendly leader. Attempt to personally connect with first-time and second-time guests.
- BE INTENTIONAL AS A CHURCH: Make warmth and friendliness a main value. Create a culture of being a welcoming church and avoid the common drift of being inward-focused.
- HAVE A GUEST FRIENDLY WEBSITE: Your website typically sets the tone for guests. Guests will look to your website to discover service times, your address, ministry opportunities, and recent photos. They want to know in advance what to expect. Guests will visit your church’s website before they visit in person.
- ENGAGE A SECRET GUEST: Ask a non-attendee in your community to visit your church. Give them a gift card and then have them honestly summarize their experience. It will be like “looking in the mirror.” What you learn may set the stage for some significant adjustments and changes.
- HAVE CLEAR SIGNAGE IN THE CHURCH: Many churches are weak in this area. They assume that everyone knows where everything is. Clear signage says, “We welcome you.”
- DEVELOP ORGANIZED HOSTS AND TRAINED GREETERS: Hosts and greeters of all ages are key to making guests feel welcomed and valued. Newer members are often excellent in this area.
- PROVIDE A CLEAR INFORMATION STATION: This will serve as a place for information, directions, and connection for all guests as well as regular attendees. Having a warm and welcoming volunteer is key.
- HAVE CLEAN AND NEAT BUILDINGS: Guests notice untidy and cluttered buildings. Your building can provide either a positive or negative mood for guests. The extra effort will be a huge plus.
I am sure more can be added to this brief list. However, my dream and desire for the Oregon Ministry Network is that we have the warmest and friendliest churches in the state.
So after they haAlways be eager to practice hospitalityRomans 12:13