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How visitors really want to be greeted in church: people share how to greet strangers

Updated on March 14, 2013

Recently our church decided to revamp the way we greet first time guests. We've had 99 visitors in 5 weeks, and our church is only about 100 strong right now. We realized we need to strengthen the way our guests are treated, which means more volunteers, and way more training. Here are the notes from our session with our greeters.

Most people decide in the first 10 minutes whether they will return to a church. You are the first person they’ll meet. Your role is vital and incredibly rewarding. The goal of greeting people should be to welcome them into church, and show them the love of Jesus every step of the way. You are the first representative of our church and possibly Jesus they’ll meet.

The reason we strive to make a good first impression is simple. People will listen to people they trust. Many people won’t hear what we have to say about Jesus, the Bible, or salvation until they trust us. To build trust we must build relationships with people. Relationships start with hello. You are the “hello” of our church.

The goal isn’t to give them a bulletin or find them a seat. The goal is to let them know right away we care, and we are here to serve them. We also want our greeters to introduce the guest to Pastor David and Pastor Marc personally either before or after the service.

We want you as a greeter to take initiative to welcome guests, help them find a seat, and talk with them as long as they are willing to talk. If they seem more interested in sitting quietly and reading the bulletin, give them space. After the service, make sure you talk to them before they leave. Ensure they have received their mug from the welcome center, and any time you see them come back follow up and say hello, even if you aren’t a greeter that particular morning.

it's all about building relationships

it's about relationship building

The first point of contact is crucial to building relationships. Relationships help us build trust with people. Trust must be present if people are to believe what we are telling them about Jesus, the Bible, and church. The point of welcoming people isn't to hand them a bulletin or guide them throught the building. It is to show them love and the love of Jesus. be sure to check out 25 ways the church can reach people.

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