You have done a lot of work to cultivate a great sense of community at your church, and your congregants value the sense of fellowship when they attend services. Have you ever wondered if the occasional visitor feels the same way?
Try the following simple but special methods to make sure all guests in your church feel welcome. Who knows? They may enjoy their visit so much that they decide to become full-time members of your congregation.
1. Design an Informative Web Site
Your church website is the first impression a potential visitor will get before setting foot inside your building. Don’t overwhelm them with excessive information on how to get involved – they might be a traveler passing through or someone who is taking a small but brave step in returning to church after a long absence.
On your website, inform guests on service times, how long they typically run, and what to do when they first arrive. Show them pictures and video clips of your actual services. Finally, tell them you’re glad they found you, and let them know how to make contact if they have questions. (Don’t forget to include the address of the church!)
2. Provide Hospitality Volunteers
Train a group of naturally warm and friendly church members to greet visitors at the door of your church. These hospitality volunteers provide a personal touch that makes a huge difference in the comfort level of your guests from the moment they first enter the building.
These volunteers can distribute informational handouts, guide newcomers to their seats, and even help them locate the place to drop off their children. This gives guests a positive first impression of your church, driving home the message that you want them to feel at home.
3. Post Clear Signage
The last thing you want is for guests to walk around feeling lost, as if they’re sticking out like sore thumbs. To ensure that doesn’t happen, post clear directional signs around your campus to guide them where they need to go.
Outside, signs should indicate where to park and where to enter the church. Inside the building, post signs that guide guests to the childcare area, restrooms, and the main sanctuary. Clear signage will help guests find their way easily, without awkwardness, so that they can feel more comfortable in your place of worship.
4. Acknowledge and Inform Guests
For the pastor, it’s easy to get into a routine and assume that everyone knows who you are and how services typically run. Guests, however, are coming into the experience with fresh eyes, and they will be more content if they know what to expect ahead of time.
First things first: print valuable information in your handouts. This gives visitors plenty of time to learn about your staff, ongoing activities, and the format of your service before it begins.
Additionally, always take a moment at the beginning of your service to introduce yourself. This will make everything you say more meaningful, as the new faces in your congregation will feel like they know you, even if you’ve never formally met.
5. Provide a Mobile Giving Option
Your entire congregation, including visitors, will have a mixture of preferences when it comes to giving. For many of your guests, it’s all about mobile. They likely use their phones for everything from buying coffee to banking. Mobile giving is the next logical step for them. Millennials, up-and-coming Generation Z-ers, and travelers rarely carry cash or checks, so participating when an offering plate is passed could be impossible for them without it.
Because mobile giving is on the rise, show these tech-savvy guests that you speak their language and provide a convenient mobile giving option. You don’t want to hold anyone back from participating in giving. When you show visitors that you care about their needs, they will feel more connected to your church.
6. Make Sure the Lobby Appears Inviting
Your lobby should look like a place where people want to stay. Create a welcoming atmosphere by spreading out a few area rugs and arranging comfortable chairs and couches to encourage people to sit and relax. Add a table with free coffee (and donuts, if your budget allows!), and your lobby will become an instant fellowship hall, where guests and members alike will feel at home.
These ideas are just a start. The best ideas are those that are specifically tailored to your community and borne from the minds of your own team. Curious what they think? Just ask.