We are in the midst of replanting our local church. After 10 years of being lone rangers, we have connected with a church with similar DNA and heart to change our community as well as the nations.
Through this process, there have been many aspects of ministry that I simply took for granted but have revisited with fresh eyes. One of these areas was “the welcome” portion of the service. It’s easy to make it so routine that we forget why we do it. We can get so comfortable in our ways, that we forget about those who are first time guests.
Here is a list of things to remember during the “welcome” time:
Each and every week, you should have an expectancy that first-time guests will be there, so don’t overlook introducing yourself. Sure, many in attendance will know you, but do it for those whom God sent to your church for the 1st and even 2nd time.
You want to recognize guests every week. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to them by making them stand up, raise their hand, or wear a pin on their collar. You can recognize their presence just by saying, “If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you came.”
Ask for permission to connect.
If you use a connection card, you want to ask them to fill out the card and turn it in at the end of service. Tell them the purpose behind the connection card. We give folks a free gift if they turn in their connection card at the sound booth directly after service.
Share the Church vision briefly.
This is where you remind everyone of why your church exists. Keep it short and sweet and let them feel your passion.
Explain and clarify any “next steps”.
Do you have membership classes? You could invite them to a small group, or mid-week service. Statistics have shown that people need to be engaged within the life of the church sooner than later.
Take a look at your bulletin, video, and signage. Does any of that material say “our church” or “us”? Those words should be reconsidered and avoided if at all possible. Instead, think of words that show inclusiveness rather than differentiating between longtimers and newbies.