Posted by Ryan Haught
The Essence of Church Welcoming
Why Welcoming Matters
Have you ever stepped into a new place and felt out of place, only to be greeted by a friendly face or a kind gesture? Such experiences can be game-changers, especially in areas of worship. Churches, at their core, are communities of faith where everyone should feel loved, accepted, and at home. This is why welcoming matters. It bridges the gap between being an outsider and part of the family.
The Biblical Perspective: Church Welcome Verses
The Bible places great emphasis on hospitality and welcoming. Verses such as Hebrews 13:2, which says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” remind us of the divine significance of welcoming. Such church welcome verses emphasize the spiritual rewards of embracing all with open arms.
How to Craft a Warm Welcome
Think of a church visit as a guest entering your home. Would you not greet them at the door? Personalized greetings, like addressing visitors by name or saying, “We’re glad you’re here!” can make all the difference. It gives visitors a sense of belonging right from the start.
Use of Welcome Materials
Consider having welcome packets or pamphlets at the entrance. These can be filled with information about the church, upcoming events, church welcome verses, and even a small token or gift. It’s a little gesture, but it speaks volumes about the church’s thoughtfulness.
Hosting a Welcome Event
Remember the joy of meeting new friends at a party? Hosting a welcome event or luncheon allows newcomers to mingle, ask questions, and feel more integrated into the community.
The Importance of Inclusion
Connect or small groups are fantastic avenues for newcomers to form deeper connections with other members. It fosters community and offers a more intimate setting for spiritual growth and fellowship.
Activities like volunteering, choir, or Sunday school provide spiritual nourishment and opportunities for visitors to participate and feel included actively.
Following Up with New Visitors
A simple phone call, email, or handwritten letter to thank visitors for attending can go a long way. It shows them that they are valued and remembered.
Including newcomers in the church’s newsletters or updates is an indirect way of keeping them informed and involved. It’s also an opportunity to highlight upcoming events they might be interested in.
Effectively welcoming visitors to church is one of the highest pursuits of any church that wants to grow. Making your visitors feel welcome is an invaluable skill to cultivate. What are some practical ways you can make your visitors feel welcome? Below are eight suggestions to help you get started.
3. CREATE AN UNFORGETTABLE WELCOME EXPERIENCE
From when visitors enter your church building to when they leave, how likely are they to remember how your church made them feel? You have the incredibly exciting opportunity to craft the welcome experience of your church. So, think carefully through every step of the process. Have the leadership of your church walk through all of the steps of welcoming visitors. Be intentional about this process!
4. HAVE A WELCOME CENTER FOR VISITORS
A table or room dedicated to welcoming visitors can profoundly impact making visitors feel valued. Ensure there’s always someone in the welcome/visitor’s center to answer questions or provide more information about your church. And make sure that you announce to visitors that the welcome center exists!
5. HAVE A WELCOMING TEAM OF GREETERS
Your welcome team is the first point of contact many visitors will have with your church. So, it’s crucial to invest time in training your team to be the best representation of your church! Chris from EvangelismCoach.com shares the following helpful points for church greeters to consider:
- You are the first loving touch every guest will meet.
- Most guests will decide in the first few minutes if they will return, even before the music starts.
- Your biggest goals are to eliminate awkwardness and encourage people.
- You are a tour guide who takes people to their destination, not a travel agent who sends them there.
- You can have a ministry of encouragement and even offer a brief prayer with people.
- Everybody ought to receive a smile, a word of welcome, a loving touch (such as a handshake), and a bulletin on their way in.
To read the rest of Chris’s excellent article, click here.
6. HAVE A WELCOMING WEBSITE
Your website’s most important user is someone who has never visited your church. You have one chance to catch their attention and compel them to plan a visit. What’s to stop them from leaving forever and finding another church to visit? Ensure you have a What to Expect page on your website dedicated to first-time visitors and their first visit to your church. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out Grace Hills Church’s outstanding What to Expect page. Also, ensure the link to your What to Expect page is your website’s most prominent call to action. Below is an example of a prominent Church website’s “Call to Action” button on the “What to Expect” page.
7. USE A WELCOME PACKET OR CONNECTION CARD
Collecting their information for follow-up is crucial once a visitor walks into your church building. This can be accomplished through a welcome packet or a church connection card. Not only will a welcome packet or connection card help you gather visitor information if designed well, but these resources will also tell your visitors that you appreciate them and want to know them better. Invite visitors to complete and return a connection card or welcome packet during the service. Also, ensure these resources are in your welcome center and can be easily seen. Consider placing them on a display rack. You don’t want to miss a single opportunity to invite your visitors to connect with your church more deeply! Welcome packets and connection cards are a powerful way to accomplish this.
8. USE WELCOMING SIGNS
If your church has a welcome center, you’ll want to ensure it’s easy to find. This can be accomplished through good signage throughout your building. Placing easy-to-read signs throughout your church building to make everything effortless to find is a good principle to follow in general. It’s vital to put yourself in your first-time visitor’s shoes. Ask yourself if you could easily find everything if you visited your church for the first time.
BIBLE VERSES FOR WELCOMING VISITORS
We hope these suggestions have inspired you to make your church more welcoming to visitors! Below are some closing Bible verses on welcoming for you to ponder.
“When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.” Luke 9:11
“When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.” Acts 15:4
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Matthew 25:35-36