Getting ready for company is an important element to growing churches. Growing churches expect guest each Sunday and spend much energy and time getting ready for their arrival.
When the James Gang have company coming to our house I usually do the vacuuming and I must tell you, I am good! We also do a series of things to make sure the house and yard look great. Why? Because we desire to be good hosts to our guests. We want them to be comfortable and relaxed. We want to create a healthy environment. Our heart’s desire is that they will want to come back again. The things we do are rather simple and often mundane, but they are important. The way we get ready for guests at home translates to how we should get ready for guests at church too.
What do guests see, feel, smell when they drive up to your church? Does the building need painting? Does the grass need mowing? Are there plants and flowers visible? Do people see adequate signage to know where to go? Do they see smiling faces? Do they see an information/guest center?
Here are few things to keep in mind as you get ready for guests.
1. Make sure your curb appeal is positive. When folks walk up to your entrance do they see Holiday Inn or the Adams family house?
2. Make sure you have some smiling faces at the doors. Greeter ministry is critical if you want to make a great first impression. Do we let people just walk into our own house without first opening the door with a smile and greeting them? Of course not. Choose people who have this gift, offer training, and elevate this important ministry in the life of your church. Remember…You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
3. Get information without being obtrusive and unknowingly embarrassing your guests. Today people do not want their privacy invaded and are highly skeptical when we ask for information. This is the reason most guests will not fill out a card the first time they visit. They want to see if this is a safe place first. Some churches have everyone fill out a card so guests do not feel intimidated. You can have the guest place the card in the offering plate or have them bring it to the welcome desk for a small gift of some kind. The more personal interaction with a guest the better chance they will return. Train all your members to be friendly and to shake hands. Some churches use the “picket fence” idea where people are assigned a certain area (or a few pews) to be on the look out for guests each week in that specific area.
4. Get ready as if you are going to have a few guest angels!
What would you do different if you knew you would have some angels in your church this Sunday? Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves are in the body also.”
As we prepare to make guests feel welcome in our churches we should keep this verse in mind. We might have a few angels show up at the front door of our churches this Sunday! Will you be ready?