By Thom S. Rainer
It’s the one thing all churches can do to reach more people, but it’s one thing most churches give little attention.
Most churches can take five simple steps to create and/or improve their greeters’ ministry and potentially see dramatic results. Let me give you a simple example of the potential impact.
A church of 200 in worship attendance may get 150 first-time guests in a year. Can you imagine the transformation that would take place if one-half of those guests connected with the church and became a part of the congregation? The church of 200 in attendance would become a church of 275 in attendance – in one year!
In our surveys of first-time guests, we hear repeatedly that one of the keys that caused them to return was a friendly first impression. Like it or not, it’s often a make or break issue for the guest.
So how can you be certain that your greeters are doing everything possible to provide an incredible first-time impression? Here are five “best practices” where churches have dynamic greeter ministries, and where the return rate of guests is high.
- Train your greeters. Most church greeters have had no training, and it is often painfully obvious. The simple process of training makes a dramatic difference in this ministry. Here is a link to the training we provide at LifeWay.
- Create alternating teams of greeters. I recommend greeters serve in their place of ministry every other month. The rotation helps them keep a fresh perspective and avoid burnout. Of course, a greeter in the “off” cycle can fill in for another greeter when needed.
- Treat the ministry as a major ministry of the church. In some churches, the greeters’ ministry has second-class status. Those churches that are highly effective in retaining first-time guests understand the importance of this ministry. The leaders recruit highly-competent and highly-motivated church members for it.
- Make visits to other churches a regular part of the greeters’ training. I recommend greeters attend a different church about once a quarter. They should write down their experiences, good and bad, to share with others in the greeters’ ministry.
- Have quarterly greeters’ meetings. The primary purpose of this meeting is to hear about the visits to other churches. It is not a meeting just for the sake of meeting.
I am asked regularly about the most effective ways to reach people in churches. Most churches have not made a significant commitment in training and resourcing greeters. That one simple but significant step could make a huge difference in the numbers reached for the gospel each year.
Share with me what you have learned about greeters’ ministries, good or bad. What do you think of the five keys I named? What would you add?
This article was originally posted on ThomRainer.com.
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.