Every Church Welcome Needs these Five Elements

Hi, welcome to the blog. My, that’s some weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? This is unfortunately how many churches welcome people to church. It doesn’t connect with people. It doesn’t communicate value, and it’s not even that welcoming. We have to do better than that.

Now, for those not quite familiar with the terminology, the church welcome is the critical time that someone from church welcomes people, mainly the guests, to the service.

I like to place the welcome right after the first worship song. This gives time for the people who’ve been hanging out in the lobby and the guests who are arriving a little late to find a seat.

I believe there are five elements to a great welcome, but maybe more important than those five is the person who is delivering the welcome. You have to make sure that person is a good speaker, they’re comfortable on stage, and they’re likable.

I’d prefer it not be the lead pastor because they’re the most likely to get caught in a conversation before service, or they may still need time to look over their notes. Plus, it’s just nice to have another person on stage people can connect with.

Once you’ve found that person, you need to ask them to do these five things during the welcome.

  1. Introduce yourself. Each and every week, you need to introduce yourself. Because each and every week we’re expecting guests to show up, and they may not know you.
  2. Welcome guests. You want to recognize guests every week. Not by making them stand up or raise their hand, just by saying, “If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you came.” Then if you use a connection card, you want to ask them to fill out the card and turn it in at the end of service.
  3. Share Vision. This is where you remind everyone of why your church exists. Try to share a story about how the church is changing lives.
  4. Invite them to connect. This could be to an event you have coming up, to a small group, or to a serving role. Statistics are very clear. If you don’t get people engaged in what you’re doing, then more than likely they won’t stay at your church.
  5. Pray. End the welcome by praying over the rest of the service.

It’s a simple as that. Here’s what mine would look like.

Hey, welcome to Strong Tower Church. My name is Travis. I’m one of the pastors here, and from everyone on staff and all our wonderful volunteers, we want to say we’re honored that you’re here today. If this is your first time with us, we hope we make you feel at home. When you came in, you were handed a connection card, and we’d love for you to fill that out with as much information as you’re comfortable with sharing. We promise we’re not going to show up at your house or anything like that. We would just like to send you a thank you card, and we have a free gift for you if you’ll take your card to our welcome center after service. This week I came across this post on Facebook from someone who recently started attending our church, and I wanted to share it with you. It says, ‘I think I’ve finally found a home church. From the moment I stepped onto the property, I’ve never felt so welcomed. It truly does feel like family. I can’t wait to go back on Sunday.’ Posts like this are why we exist. Our church exists to share the love of Jesus with everyone, so that everyone falls in love with Him. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we’re having a pastor’s lunch right after service today, and we would love to talk with you about how you can get more involved. Thanks again for being here. Would you join me in praying over the rest of our service?

If you found this post helpful, would you do me a favor and share it with another pastor or church leader you know? My desire is to help small town pastors all around the world, and I’d love to have your help in getting the word out. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

The Five Characteristics of a Great Volunteer

Being able to find a handful of great volunteers is often the difference between a small town church that grows and one that declines. Great volunteers are just as valuable as great staff members. In fact, they may be even more valuable because they’re willing to do the work for free. Before you start thinking about planting a church or transforming a church, it would be wise to find a group of great volunteers to help.

You know as well as I do that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find people who are wiling to give up their time to serve the church. So, I’m not going to pretend that finding great volunteers is going to be easy. It’s not.

The fact is many of you are going to read this list and decide that you have no one in your church who qualifies as a great volunteer. Unfortunately, that may be true, which means you have to work with what you’ve got.

Hopefully, over time you’ll be able to develop someone with these characteristics, or God will bless the church by sending some to you. The church I serve has gained great volunteers in both of those ways.

In fact, I wouldn’t have labeled myself as a great volunteer in the beginning. Thankfully, I had a pastor who saw potential in me and was willing to develop the characteristics I needed to be a great volunteer and eventually a great staff member.

So, what exactly are the characteristics of a great volunteer? These are the five characteristics I would look for.

  1. They own the vision.

I’m looking for someone who is personally engaged in the mission and vision of the church. I want them pulling for me, and not against me. Are they supporting the ministry with their time and money? Are they inviting people to church? Are they positive about the direction the church is going? Normally, if someone has this characteristic, the rest come a lot easier.

  1. They work to make it better.

I want people to be frustrated when things aren’t done well, as long as they’re willing to help to fix it. When they see a piece of trash in the floor, I want to see if they pick it up or not. I pay attention to those who show up to church early and those who leave late. I want volunteers who are constantly thinking, “How can we improve this?”

  1. They help each other.

If you’re going to be a great volunteer, you have to be willing to work with others. I want people who are willing to step out of the media booth when there’s a shortage of volunteers in the kids’ ministry. I want people who are willing to serve in areas outside of “their” team. The only way church works is if we’re willing to work together.

  1. They replace themselves.

If you’re a volunteer who is able to replace yourself, then you become irreplaceable to me. I’m looking for people who aren’t afraid to hand over their position to someone else. I’m looking for those volunteers who encourage and empower others around them because as the church grows, more leaders have to emerge.

  1. They’re always willing to change.

The biggest reason why many rural and small town churches aren’t growing is because of their unwillingness to change. We know the Gospel never changes, but everything else around it does. So, I need volunteers who are willing to change. I know we’ve never had people greeting in the parking lot before, but we’re going to start. I know we’ve never allowed coffee in the sanctuary, but we’re going to start this week. Are they able to embrace change?

This is my list. I’d love to see yours. Share it in the comments below. If you’re small town church pastor who is struggling right now, and you need someone to talk to, visit my contact page. Let’s set up a call. I’d love to help.

A Simple Way to Grow Yourself and Others

I don’t think you would be reading this blog if you didn’t have some interest in growing yourself as a pastor and leader. In this post, I’m going to share with you a simple way you can do just that, as well as grow others along with you. Often I think we try to overcomplicate leadership development, when all that is really needed is a willingness to learn.

As long as you have a willingness to learn, the rest is simple. Start with these four steps.

  1. Pick out a book, blog, or podcast.
  1. Read or listen to it.
  1. Ask two questions:
  • What did I learn?
  • How can I apply it?
  1. Invite others to join you. (Form a group.)

The hard part of leadership development is finding those who have a desire to learn. Once you’ve found them, the developing should come easy.

What are some of the best books, blogs, or podcasts you’ve taken your team through? Share them in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on leadership, church growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.