Have you noticed the strategic welcome you receive when you enter a place of business? Sometimes you can barely step across the threshold before someone hollers out a “Welcome!” Many churches have joined that “welcome wagon” while others are lagging behind. Of course, a good welcome doesn’t replace a good message and well-rehearsed music presentation, but if the welcome isn’t present there may not be as many present to hear the preaching or singing!
I wonder what would happened if we spent as much time on planning a welcome to visiting guests as we do on preparing sermons or practicing music?
Just as a river flows through a landscape, I believe there is a “welcome flow” that begins in print or online, and flows through the parking lot, into the lobby, through the seats or pews, and onto the platform in the worship center. What are you doing to increase the flow of guests into your church? How are you getting people to come to church? How do you treat visitors when they enter your sanctuary? Do you or your welcome team introduce yourselves, hand them a bulletin, give them directions, and make them feel like they have been invited be a part of the family of God? What do you do after they have come and gone? Do you have a follow up strategy, or do you merely hope they will come back on their own?
Welcoming visitors is similar to having guests for dinner. I know that when we have someone over to dinner, my wife and I knock ourselves out getting the house clean, the food prepared, the table set, and the atmosphere just right. We want our company to feel at home and to feel like royalty. They are special people. That’s the way the church needs to treat its “company.” It will take a focused effort, though. Hospitality doesn’t just happen, it is prayed over, planned, and carried out every single time the lights are turned on and the doors are opened for a church event.
– The People Principle