How your church is represented is determined by many factors. The pastor has a huge role in this, but so do others in your church.
Most pastors are “people persons” so they are people focused and friendly. People in the congregation love it when the pastor approaches them and talks one-on-one for a time. On any given Sunday, you will find our pastor up in front of church talking to a number of people or milling through the congregation, greeting us with a hug and some conversation.
Aside from the pastor, there are some other key people who can influence the atmosphere of the church. The greeters and ushers are some of the first people visitors encounter when they come to your church. Are they friendly and helpful to newcomers? It’s important to remember that when someone comes for the first time, they have no idea where anything is – the sanctuary, restrooms and coffee should all be pointed out. It’s also a good idea to introduce new visitors to the pastor if they have the chance.
The worship team has the chance to set the tone of the church. Are they a group that interacts with others or are they kind of “cliquish?” The style of worship will never please everyone, but the attitudes of those on the worship team can play a part in welcoming people to the church.
There may be those in the congregation to take it upon themselves to notice new people and welcome them. We used to go to a church that had a man who had the gift of welcoming and encouraging. Everyone knew him, and he tried to make everyone feel comfortable.
Do you have some information to hand out to those who are first time visitors? People generally want to know what you believe and what you offer as far as groups and ministries they can get involved with. Have some helpful information inf a flyer or brochure and make sure the ushers and greeters know where they are so they can hand them out.
Your church website also plays a role, probably bigger than you think. Many people will check out your website before they ever set foot in your building, so you want your website to represent your church well. Is it warm and friendly, or do you want it to be a more exciting, vibrant feel? Colors and images play a big part as well as the content you include to share. It’s also very important to keep your website updated so your visitors know you are an active and alive church.
I think it’s important we show God’s love to those who visit your church, and even before that, your website. It may take some thinking and planning, but it’s one way we fulfill what God told us to do – love others.