Effectively welcoming visitors is one of the highest pursuits of any church that wants to grow. Making your first-time visitors feel welcome at your church is an invaluable skill to cultivate.
What are some practical ways you can make your church more welcoming? Below are 8 suggestions to help you get started.
1. Prepare a Warm Welcome Message
When a visitor has made the huge choice to attend one of your church services, you’ll want to make absolutely certain that they feel rewarded for making this decision. This is your big change to make them feel truly welcomed!
Think carefully about your welcome message at the start of your service. Address visitors with a sentence like, “If you’re a first-time visitor, we want to extend a very special welcome to you.” Then provide information about (1) what visitors can expect during their first visit and (2) different ways they can get plugged in to your church.
A warm, friendly, and informative welcome message will help relieve some of the anxiety of visiting a new church.
Consider occasionally playing a special welcome message at the start of a service to introduce your church to visitors. We’ve included a sample church welcome video below:
2. Use Beautiful Welcome Graphics and Videos
Using beautiful graphics and videos to welcome visitors to church can have a powerful visual effect. We’ve included several graphics and videos below to consider using for your church. To learn more about a graphic, just click on the image.
3. Create an Unforgettable Welcome Experience
From the moment a visitor enters your church building to the moment they leave, how likely are they to remember the way your church made them feel?
You have the incredibly exciting opportunity to craft the welcome experience visitors have at your church. So you’ll want to take the time to think this through carefully.
Have the leadership of your church walk through all of the steps of welcoming visitors. Being intentional about this process will pay off!
4. Have a Welcome Center for Visitors
Having a table or even a room totally dedicated to welcoming visitors can have a profound impact on making visitors feel valued.
Make sure there’s always someone in the visitor’s center to answer any questions or provide more information about your church. And make sure that you announce to visitors that this welcome center exists and tell them where to find it!
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 that they can possibly be!
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 to have 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 the person who has never visited your church before. 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? Visitor-focused design.
It’s crucially important that you create a ‘What to Expect’ page on your website that’s solely focused on first-time visitors and their first visit to your church. If you’re looking for inspiration, we recommend checking out Grace Hills Church’s outstanding what to expect page.
Also, make sure that the link to your What to Expect page is the most prominent call to action throughout your website. Below is an example of a prominent “What to Expect” call-to-action button.
7. Use a Welcome Packet or Connection Card
Once a visitor walks into your church building, it’s vital that you have a way to collect their information for followup. 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, these resources will communicate to your visitors that you appreciate them and want to know them better.
Make sure to invite visitors to fill out and return a connection card or welcome packet during the service. Also, make sure 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 in a deeper way!
8. Use Welcoming Signs
If your church does have a welcome center, you’ll want to make sure it’s very easy to find. This can be accomplished through good signage throughout your building.
In fact, placing easy-to-read signs throughout your church building is a good principle to follow in general. Especially if you have a big church building!
At the end of the day, it’s vital to put yourself in your first-time visitor’s shoes. Ask yourself if you would be able to easily find your way around if you were visiting your church for the first time.
Bible Verses for Welcoming Visitors
We hope these suggestions have given you inspiration to make your church more welcoming to visitors! Below are some closing Bible verses on the theme of ‘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 (emphasis added)
“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 (emphasis added)
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7 (emphasis added)
“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