I have had the chance to visit or be on staff in many churches for over 20 years. My saddest observation is that churches do not either adequately train or understand the ministry of a greeter or usher. I cannot tell you how many churches I have walked into where the men stand around in the foyer and look manly, hand you a bulletin, and tell you “It’s good to see you” if they are “friendly”. What kind of impression will you get if you are a young family with a baby and a few young children?
Honestly, I knew within a few minutes that I did not want to go back. The impression that they give is that they are happy with the people they have and do not want to put forth any extra effort to acquaint you with their ministry.
What should have been done differently?
- They should have engaged the family in real conversation. Introduce yourself. Find out their names and use them. Find out the ages of the children. Find out if they would be interested in utilizing the nursery or children’s ministry. If so, walk them to it. Introduce them to the children’s ministry workers and the workers to them. Once again, use their names. It makes them feel important.
- Try to engage with them after the service. Introduce them to others within the church, especially others in their age bracket or life stage. Don’t let this just be the pastor’s job! They expect this from the pastor, so it just seems like he is “doing what he’s supposed to do”.
- Don’t just put men in as ushers or greeters! There is NOTHING in the Bible that says an usher is supposed to be masculine. In my personal experience, ladies are much better at greeting and engaging people. Anybody can pass a plate. It takes someone who really wants to make people feel welcome to be an usher/greeter.
- Help them find a seat (especially if they’re late). There is nothing more embarrassing than being late and having to hunt down a seat. For our church situation, we have folding chairs we set up and take down. We set up a certain number. If we have more people show up, we have to be ready to set out more chairs on the spot.
- All people should engage a guest in meaningful conversation. Don’t overwhelm them but at least act like a normal human being rather than a “church alien” (the kind whose language changes when they walk into a building with a steeple on top).
- One final word: THE ONLY THING IN CHURCH THAT SHOULD BE SAVED ARE THE SOULS IN THE BUILDINGS NOT THE SEATS!!!!!!!!!!!