I don’t care how good the sermon is, how rockin’ the music sounds or how comfy the seats feel; if a First-time Visitor feels unaccepted, unwelcomed, uncomfortable, or intimidated; THEY ARE NOT COMING BACK, AND THERE WILL BE NO SECOND VISIT.
Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections at Granger Church says their goal is to “do anything and everything that helps their guest see Christ. In his book, “First Impressions, Creating WOW experiences in Your Church” Mark suggests that our assignment is to “make sure people can see Jesus clearly by meeting them where they are, with unconditional acceptance and respect”. To do this, we need to create a WOW for every guest, because every week there will be a guest forming a first impression.
You have visitors almost every week, so you need a no-fail plan and team in place to make visitors feel welcome. At a base level, make sure you have:
- Space – an information desk, reception room, cafe or other “guest-ready” area for visitors to make their attendance known, ask questions, and be enthusiastically welcomed. A “defined” welcome space conveys that you are expecting and prepared for them.
- Supplies– keep the guest area stocked with supplies, such as literature about the church, free invitations to paid events being held at the church, your business cards (with handwritten personal cell phone number on it (most people will be intimidated to call you on your cell, but feel important and special because you gave it to them).
- Volunteers– an entire Hospitality team: Greeters, parking lot attendants, ushers, coffee servers, guest services team and escorts to accompany visitors to different areas of the church, such as the nursery or Children’s wing.
- Ministry aids– easy-to-read directional signs, banners publicizing events and programs, literature racks for church information.
- Parking – reserved parking for visitors, seniors and the handicapped.
The Lord sends them to us, it’s our responsibility to make them feel welcome. Make your goal to get each guest to say “WOW, … fill in the blank…”, and it was good!
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Blessed with the gift of gab and hospitality, Bev served as a staff member for a fast-growing church where she discovered her talent for helping people step out of their comfort zone. She began recruiting volunteers to serve in Children’s Ministry, but as the church grew, her focus became the influx of visitors and her need to make sure they didn’t get lost in the growth. For this, she developed a full team of trained volunteers to create the “WOW, from the Street to the Seat”. Her success with this program lead to speaking engagements at churches across North Georgia, prompting a string of WOW experiences! Now, as Marketing Manager for Displayit at Church, she loves sharing her tips, tricks and ideas, that can make a real difference.