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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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2 thoughts on “Every Church Welcome Needs these Five Elements”
Travis, I like your thoughts but I need to disagree with 2 key points. First, we’ve gone out of our way to avoid breaking up the worship songs segment and promote flow right in to scripture and the message. To do this, we open with the welcome and announcements, then into a “center-down” invitation to worship and the praise songs. We used to do the announcements/welcome after the songs but many of us felt it broke the worshipper’s focus. The second point is that we absolutely want the senior pastor doing the welcome and announcements. This gives him an informal time to build a rapport with the congregation and I think it’s important to build his image as relatable. But not every senior pastor is good at this, so it may not work for every situation. All that being said, I find general rules like this difficult to use because each congregation needs to be true to itself and be comfortable in their own skin. Thanks for your thoughts.
Jim, thanks so much for the comment. We’ve went back and forth on when to place the welcome during our services because of the exact reasoning you mention. And our senior pastor also does the welcome at least once a month, but we also have other pastors and volunteers that do it the majority of the time.