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New families have questions when they arrive at your church. Dale Hudson helps leaders expect and answer those questions.

New families are asking themselves these questions when they walk in your church doors for the first time.  Answer them correctly and there’s a great chance they will return.

Some of the questions will be answered verbally.  Other questions will be answered non-verbally through actions, attitude, demeanor, and carefully thought out preparation.   
 

Question #1 – WHERE DO I GO?

Remember what it’s like to walk into a new place?  You don’t know where to go, where to drop off your kids, where to find a restroom, etc.

Preparation:  

  • Have clearly marked guest parking…and make it the best parking on the lot.  Have parking lot attendants guide guests into this area.  You can do this by having an entrance sign that says “Guests, turn on your hazard lights for reserved parking.”  
  • Have clearly marked outside signage.
  • Have greeters at each door.
  • Have hosts that help them get checked in and personally walk them to the right areas.

 

Question #2 – WILL THEY BE FRIENDLY? 

It’s also easy to forget what it’s like to walk into a new place and not know anyone.  Guests can walk in, see everyone talking in groups, and feel very intimated and out-of-place. 

Preparation: 

  • Have the right people greeting.  Make sure your greeters have a great personality, love people, and have the ability to make new people feel comfortable.
  • Make sure the friendliness factor is part of your church’s DNA.  The friendliness factor must go way beyond the front door.  It should extend through their whole experience. 
  • Have a time of welcome and greeting at the beginning of the service.  Do not have guests stand or point them out.  They are feeling awkward enough already.  Simply have people near them greet them and welcome them.
  • Show genuine interest in them.  Move beyond the “welcome” and take time to talk with guests.  Engage them in conversation and find out about their family.  Have the attitude “there you are” instead of ” here I am.”
  • Have a guest reception after the service and invite guests to come meet the Pastor, have refreshments, etc.
  • Be just as friendly when are leaving as when they were coming in.  Have greeters at the doors thanking people for coming as they leave.  The smiling face they see when they are leaving will be what they remember the most. 

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Dale Hudson Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the Top 20 Influencers in Children’s Ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry.

More from Dale Hudson or visit Dale at http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com

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  • Benjamin Spears

    Some of these points are geared more towards mega churches (parking attendants, pagers), but it’s a great reminder. I would add cleanliness. If nursery toys are gross (or just super old and falling apart) or the washrooms are a mess, it’s a bad first impression. That, and a nasty look of you accidentally sit in ‘someone else’s’ seat.

    • Brian

      Yeah, it is sort of biased that way. I wish an article would be written that could apply to ALL churches, even small church plants, in regards to amking people feel at home. My gues is, if your church has grown big enough to have all of these things….you probably are doing a lot right as far as making people feel welcome laready!