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.
- 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.
- If someone asks you where something is, walk them to the destination.
- Park in the least desirable parking spots. Allow visitors the best parking.
- 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.
- Invite someone to sit with you, or ask to sit next to someone who is by themselves.
- Talk with people… even in the parking lot.
- Ask someone you don’t know to join you in an upcoming event.
- 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.
- 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?