Learn More To Do More Project
(Article's content based on a pamphlet titled, Making A Visitor Feel Welcome© published in
November, 1996, in the Recovering Sinners™ Series by Dale Lee. Title changed on June 10, 2003.)
|Making a visitor feel welcome
|Helping a guest feel welcome is not an accident|
|Some factors that influence a guest feeling that he was welcome at the church|
|I am not sure where I am supposed to go|
Caring Church Member
A church without visitors is a church with a limited future. When a visitor attends a church service, he has altered his behavior pattern and included the church in his life for that day. Each church member should feel very proud that the visitor has decided to visit his church.
A person can be viewed as a visitor, but a better idea is to view him as a guest. Being a guest indicates the person is important and effort will be made to make him feel welcome and important.
A warm and friendly greeting will create a positive first impression of the church. This action is laying the foundation for the guest to have a good visit.
A Christian’s activities represent God to his community. Treating a person as a guest is truly loving your neighbor as yourself.
It takes deliberate effort to make a guest feel welcome. A person, greeter, that reaches out to a guest has to believe that it is important to make the person feel welcome. The greeter has to place a priority on reaching out to guests. This may mean that you have to go out of your way to reach out to the guest.
For church members to reach out to a guest, they have to alter their behavior patterns so their activities will include the guest. They need to talk with the guest and include him in social activities. Talking with the guest may mean that the church member has to plan to “hang around” after the church service is over so he will have the time to spend with the guest(s).
1. The number of people that talked with him.
2. The sincerity of the people that talked with him.
3. The manner which people helped him get to the places in the church that he needed to go.
4. People answering his questions.
5. People inviting him to attend other church services.
6. Follow-up contacts by church members after he visited he church.
The guest at a church may not know any people at the church or the location of the auditorium, restrooms, and classrooms. He will be ignorant of things about the church that church members take for granted. Answering these questions before he asks will help put him at ease.
The opinion church members have about how "warm" their church is depends on how they are treated by church members. The opinion has nothing to do with how church members treat guests. A church member may believe their church is warm and friendly because:
A guest will not have a group of friends or acquaintances in the church with which he can talk and visit. Several people talking to a guest can make the guest believe the church is friendly.
Although everything that occurs during a church service influences the attitude the guest will have toward the church, the first and last impressions the guest has at the church service are important.
FIRST IMPRESSION The feeling that the guest experiences when he enters the church building sets the attitude that he will take to the rest of the service. A good feeling sets the tone for a positive attitude which will cause the guest to be more receptive to what is said and done in the service.
LAST IMPRESSION It is good that the guest leaves the church building with someone having extended a good-bye to him that thanks him for attending the service and invites him to visit another church service. He will be thinking, “They want me to come back.” He may say, “I will.”
If you allow it, carrying on a conversation with a person you have just met or know very little about them can be difficult. Asking a few casual questions about where the guest lives, his work, and his family will give you lots of interesting data about the guest. It is common that a connection between you and the guest will be found.
After each service, try to meet and talk with a guest. If there is time, try to get to know something about the guest. Putting forth the effort to talk to the guest actually shows the guest that he is important.
When possible, introduce the guest to another church member that is near the guest’s age. The introduction will help develop another connection to the church for the guest. Keep in perspective why you are talking to the guest.
Some reasons for talking to the guest are:
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