Many new guests will walk through your church’s front door in December, maybe even some members who have been absent for a long time. During these special days, make sure you are ready to make everyone who enters your church feel welcomed and at home. Hospitality is biblical.
Romans 12:13 says, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Here are some practical suggestions to effectively offer hospitality and welcome guests during the Christmas season:
1. Remember our goal is to welcome people with the love of Jesus. What your guests initially experience when they visit your church will stay in their minds for a long time. We must do all we can to prepare for their visit and to communicate Christ. If their first impression is negative and they do not experience God’s love, we have missed a great opportunity. Some of these folks may not be back until next year!
2. Use the golden rule when you greet. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is not rocket science, just be sensitive to your guests and their needs. Smile and greet them with the joy of Christ in your voice.
3. Think like a first-time guest. Look around and pretend you are a first time guest…what do you see? What do you feel? What do you expect? Familiarity does breed complacency so open your eyes to what they are seeing.
4. Give a Christmas gift. People love to receive gifts so why not prepare some special gifts for your Christmas guests. Coffee mugs with hot chocolate or spice tea or a good Christmas CD would be great. What about a Christian calendar for 2011, a poinsettia, or an ornament that might remind them of your church. Get creative!
5. Mail guests a Christmas card. Immediate follow up is really important for all guests so why not send them a Christmas card with a hand written note. At the end of December you could send a New Year’s card from the church with a calendar of upcoming events.
6. Host a guest reception. This could take place before or after the worship. Invite all guests to meet you pastor, staff and key leaders. Train your members to bring their guests by this reception area. Serve Christmas punch and cookies. Have Christmas music playing in the background.
7. Go the extra mile. It is always better to escort a guest to their Sunday School class, the worship center, or the nursery rather than just pointing then down the hallway. This is why it is important to have at least two greeters so someone remains at the door. Another great touch is to offer to sit with them in worship if they attend by themselves.
Hospitality is showing the love of Jesus to everyone we meet. Let’s get ready and do our very best to effectively welcome every guest in December. “Joy to the World the Lord has come!”
Keep the Son in Your Eyes,