At our first district minister’s meeting in Chattanooga of this season, our District Superintendent said that making people feel welcome at church is an “every-member, every-Sunday” responsibility. The Barna Research Group claims that 40% of people who visit a church make up their mind before they see the pastor and that a visitor has decided if a church is friendly within the first two minutes of the worship service. A non-welcoming church is a lonely church.

After reading a myriad of articles, I boiled down gigantic lists to just a few prominent ways that can make hospitality an “every-member, every-Sunday” initiative. If each person in your church chose to carry out two of the possibilities below, your church may be the most welcoming place on earth. As a member of a local church, choose two of the following to put into practice this Sunday.

  1. Initiate conversations with someone. A simple “good morning, I hope you find this place as wonderful as I do,” and sharing your name can go miles.
  2. If someone asks you where something is, walk them to the destination.
  3. Park in the least desirable parking spots. Allow visitors the best parking.
  4. Sit in the middle of the pews/rows near the front. First-time visitors want to blend in, so give them the easiest to access seats.
  5. Invite someone to sit with you, or ask to sit next to someone who is by themselves.
  6. Talk with people… even in the parking lot.
  7. Ask someone you don’t know to join you in an upcoming event.
  8. Be sure there are plenty of refreshments for guests. We all had breakfast before we came in, right? Leave that last cinnamon roll for someone visiting.
  9. Connect the person with someone with like interests. Is it a college student? Find a young adult. Is it a single mother? Find another mom in the room.

What else would you add to the list?

{For further reading see this blog, the Lewis Leadership Institute, or}