Does your church have a plan as to how you welcome newcomers? You cannot assume it will just happen naturally, although that would be the ideal goal. You hope that your congregation reaches out to those who are new and makes them feel right at home. But does that always happen? People get busy. They may have their own responsibilities on a Sunday morning and are eager to get to them. Or they may want to connect with friends at the church. So, even the best intentions don’t always get carried out.
Let’s look at some ways you can make new visitors to your church feel welcome.
Whichever name you assign them, it’s important to have smiling, friendly people at the door to greet newcomers. Have you ever walked in a new place and not known anyone or where you are supposed to go? It can be quite intimidating, but having someone there to offer a smile and give directions can go a long way in making someone feel at ease. Let them know how they can to get a cup of coffee, use the restrooms or get to the sanctuary. If possible, go the extra mile and walk them to the sanctuary.
Does your church has clear signs pointing people to where they want to go? Here’s some of the more important areas to mark.
- Cafe area
- Sunday school rooms
Remember, it might seem obvious to you, but to someone who is coming for the first time, it can offer some much need comfort.
Newcomers Cards and Brochures
It’s a great idea to give newcomers a packet of information. Some things to highlight:
- History of the church
- Prayer request card
- How to contact the office
Many churches think about how to welcome newcomers once they get to the church, but forget about their initial first impression – your website. Does it give new people the information they need? Is it easy to find where your church is located and the times of the services? Are your ministries highlighted? Are your leadership biographies up-to-date?
Try to look at your website as if you have never seen it before and never attended your church. What’s missing or what isn’t clear? Take the time to update it.
Once you have had a new visitor, do you follow up with them? It’s a good idea to give them the option to request a home visit or phone call from one of the leaders, to answer any questions they have. If they do request it, be sure to follow through on it.
Remember the goal is to offer newcomers a place to call home and not just make a one-time visit. Taking some extra care to make them feel welcome will encourage their return.