The church greeters ministry is essential for every church. Why? Because your congregation needs to feel a welcoming community. A church greeter ministry spreads hospitable people throughout the entire church as part of an effective first impressions ministry. Think about every church entry point as a start for greeters.
Church greeters aren’t just for the congregation though. First-time guests must feel welcomed too or they may not return. Guests also need point-people to ask questions and get directions. It’s an important team!
Here are 7 essential rules to ensure your church greeters ministry will be effective:
- Greeters shouldn’t “just” hand out bulletins and collect offerings. Sure, that can be part of their church greeter’s ministry role but it’s much more than that. It’s a hospitality role that participates in critical worship components (like the offering, possibly communion, etc.)…and authentically greeting!
- They should go through training. Like all church roles, don’t assume people know how to lead as a church greeter. Teach them and role-play scenarios with them. Set high expectations and you’ll be surprised how your retention rate will likely increase.
- Greeters shouldn’t get to choose their positions. Everyone’s not good at hospitality. Just because they volunteer as a greeter, doesn’t mean they should serve in prominent roles. It doesn’t mean you tell them “no” though. Instead, train and teach them what biblical hospitality looks like. Then position them based on qualifications. Put only your best (that represent your community demographic) in the areas where guests will enter. I’d also suggest rotating people into various locations so they can get to know the entire church (most sit in the same areas) and keep greeters from “owning” one spot.
- They should be held accountable. Once trained, with the standard explained, someone needs to lovingly hold the volunteers accountable to it. Having visited many churches as a mystery visitor, there are many churches who accept the unacceptable with greeters! You’ll also be surprised how members use the church greeters as role models; so the entire church becomes as welcoming as the team.
- Greeters shouldn’t serve every week. Give everyone a chance to serve! Don’t lock someone into a full-time church greeter volunteer role. If you can, let them have weeks serving and others where they can participate in worship with their family. Or have a break!
- They should have safety training. In our world of crazy occurrences and scary possibilities, you must rely on more than a security person and possible concealed weapons on members. You also need a trained team that’s distributed across your campus (at entry points) who know how to calm and lead people. The church greeters ministry is the perfect group to guide during medical emergencies and command respect with terror occurrences (that we pray you never have).
- Greeters should know “next steps”. Resist having separate teams for greeters and first impressions (helping at guest services). If possible, have all those roles filled with members who want to encourage others to feel welcomed, find community, and discover small groups and discipleship as their next step in the church! Then rotate them through each location to keep them invigorated and knowledgeable.
Mark MacDonald is communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and Executive Director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.