Easter weekend is just a few days away. This is the most opportune time for you to invite un-churched and de-churched people to experience worship at your church. What should you do to make them feel welcome once they arrive?
1. Park Far Away from the Worship Center
I know its kind of a game to always try to find the best parking space wherever you go. I get it. I do it. Even at the fitness center, I always try to get the closest space to the door. However, this should not be the case at church . . . especially Easter weekend.
I want guests to show up and have as few obstacles as possible. A first impressions and parking team will try to point guests into special guest parking, but sometimes guests want to simply park in another open space. You can create more optimal spaces by intentionally parking far from the church building(s).
2. Intentionally Look for Guests & Sit with Them
This Easter weekend, I encourage you to intentionally walk around your church and look for people you don’t know. Don’t just sit where you always sit. Have you and your family sit with this other person and their family. This way, they have a point person with whom they connect.
3. Smile, Look Guests in the Eye, and Shake their Hands
Don’t just say “hello” during the greeting time of a service, but intentionally look them in the eye, shake their hands, and be genuinely interested in them. Don’t look over their shoulder to see who else is there, but lock into that one guest. You want them to feel welcome and feel special.
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions & Don’t Just Talk About Yourself
Ask them about their family, what they do for a living, and ask what that job is like. Ask if they have a church home right now. Ask how they learned about your church.
If you just talk about yourself for three or four minutes, they’ll begin wondering if the church is selfish. Ask open-ended questions while not being too intrusive (questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”) and ask follow-up questions.
5. Encourage Them to Fill-Out A Connection Card & Get A Gift from the Church
Whatever your church calls “connection cards,” that’s what I call them. They’re the cards that have people fill-out their info to let the church know they visited. Encourage guests to fill-out the card. Do I mean that you should go out of your way to ask them if they filled-out a card? Yes, I do. This card is really important for the church.
We try so hard to get people to show-up, and we want to work hard at following up with them. At many churches, including Church of the Highlands, we offer free gifts to guests to encourage them to fill-out cards.
Encourage guests with whom you connect to fill-out a card, put it in the offering basket, and to get a free gift from the church.
6. Talk Positively About Your Church and its Impact in Both Your Life and the Community
These guests are coming because they are searching for something or someone to change their life. Talk about how the ministries of your church have changed your (and your family’s) life. Talk about how your church serves the community for God’s glory. Stay positive.
If your church has a bunch of drama, the last thing you need to do is begin talking church politics with some dude trying to figure out if Jesus is real, and he starts hearing an argument about whether or not the church should have committees or something. Speak positively about how God is moving in your church!
Do you have any other suggestions of how churched people can make others feel welcome this Easter weekend?
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