by Leslie Parrott, adapted from Serving as a Church Greeter, recently collected in The Zondervan Practical Ministry Guides Collection: Complete 7-Volume Set.
Here are some crucial ideas that can prove to be valuable for you and your church as you carry out your ministry of greeting:
Step One: Commit
Paul provides greeters with the proper perspective on their motivation for serving at the door of the church: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you will know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24).
Know Your Church
No one can know everything about her or his local church. But with a little effort it shouldn’t be hard to make a list of the questions asked most often. And when there is no immediate answer, be ready to refer people to the right source—and then follow up to be sure that their question was answered. There is no reason to be lacking information about offices, telephones, rest rooms, classrooms, exits, nursery facilities, literature, brochures, the church calendar, last week’s bulletin, and the like.
Remember Names (Here’s How!)
Some persons are more gifted than others in remembering names. However, the greeter who knows the most names is likely to be the most appreciated. Here are some suggestions:
- Listen to a name until you’ve accurately understood it, even if you need to ask for the name to be spelled out. Many people don’t remember names because they don’t listen, and therefore they don’t enter the name clearly into the computer of their minds.
- As much as possible, relate the name to something that is already easily remembered, such as another person by the same name or a well-known place. Most specialists in name-recall emphasize the importance of relating the name to some easily remembered person, place, or thing.
- Use the person’s name at least three times as soon as possible. Start by calling the person by name already as you are in the process of meeting him or her.
- Write down the name. One traveling minister, famous for remembering many names in many places, always wrote down the name of a new acquaintance as soon as he was alone. He credited his immediate use of the name and his habit of writing it down as the most important factors in his ability to remember names.
Build an Informal Organization
The human tendency is to organize greeters either too much or too little.
Keep the organization simple. Develop the system to fit the size and nature of your church. Every church needs a head greeter who is appointed by the pastor or the board. This assignment may be given to a couple or to one person. The one who is appointed is in charge. He or she provides the necessary training for greeters, holds periodic meetings, gives general supervision to the greeting ministry, and is responsible for the smooth operation of the user-friendly foyer.
BONUS: Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=ice-cold; 10=red-hot), just how warmhearted do you think your church is toward strangers or people who are different from them?
- How well is your church progressing toward the ultimate strategy of a user-friendly church where everyone is a greeter?
- What should a church greeter say to someone who speaks negatively about the pastor or someone on the staff?
- What specific things could you do to make your parking lot a more beautiful place—a place that can serve as an extension of your sanctuary?
- What services could you add in your parking lot that would enhance the Sunday morning experience of your congregation?
—Leslie Parrott, Serving as a Church Greeter in The Zondervan Practical Ministry Guides Collection
How to Use This Book
These brief guides will help you accomplish the nuts and bolts of church ministry:
- make visitors feel welcome
- keep the church service running smoothly
- harness your God-given talents as a gift to the body of Christ
- protect your church members from harm
- enhance your children’s ministry
- get equipped for a more powerful prayer ministry
- and more…
For best value, pick up the recently-released 7-volume pack.