The church welcome time is so important in your church for three reasons: 1) to be friendly to regular attenders, 2) to demonstrate the way for members to be friendly to each other, and 3) to make guests feel appreciated for attending (so hopefully, they’ll return)!
When your church welcome time occurs during the service is entirely up to you. Having it as part of the initial worship time is wise though since it’s good to introduce a sense of greeting early in your fellowship.
There are 5 essential things you should include in your church welcome time:
- The welcomer’s information. Whoever’s greeting needs to give their name, their role, and a way to contact them (or someone else) later. This can be on the screen if you use them. This allows your congregation and guests to start building a relationship of helpfulness, leadership, and friendship with someone. Even better? Explain how people can talk personally with them after the service. For guests, research has shown that the more people guests and members know by name at a church, the more likely they’ll stay in the local church. So, share your name and invite discussion!
- A genuine reason you’re glad they’re present. Getting ready, driving to church, and spending time together shouldn’t be taken for granted. Especially if you want it to happen regularly. They could’ve chosen to stay home and do other things. Fortunately, they came! Or maybe they tuned into an online service. Use your church welcome time to make the gathering special for an authentic reason!
- A church thread. Your church should have a controlled, takeaway message that you want to be known for. That thread needs to authentically weave itself through your website, services, ministries, and your welcome time; so your church becomes remembered for it. So, use the words you want the audience to use in response to: What’s this church all about? Why do you attend our church?
- A next step. Like all good communication today, everyone is asking “now what?”. When the member or guest arrived for the service, they’re anticipating something beneficial out of their time. The welcome (near the beginning of the service) is an excellent time to establish potential decisions that may be made after the sermon. It’s also the perfect time to explain how your church puts faith into action. Through missions or ministries that would be their obvious next step. Resist feeling like everyone understands what the church offers. Give them a benefit for taking the next step (i.e. registering for a small group, going to a Sunday School class after service, or volunteering for a mission project), and be very clear on how to do whatever they decide (without boring them with details).
- Establish trust in your website. No one, especially a guest, will remember all the details they heard during a service. Therefore, mention your website address (URL) as the trusted source for all their questions and answers. And ensure your website lives up to the honor of their trust!