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How to Get Guests to Return: Practical Ways to Welcome Visitors

2. Will People Be Friendly?

Next, it’s also easy to forget what it’s like to walk into a new place and not know anyone. Guests can walk in, see everyone talking in groups, and feel very intimated and out of place.

Preparation:

  • Have the right people greeting. Make sure greeters have a great personality, love people, and are able to make new people feel comfortable.
  • Make sure the friendliness factor is part of your church’s DNA. The friendliness factor must go way beyond the front door. It should extend through the whole experience.
  • Have a time of welcome and greeting at the beginning of the service. Don’t have guests stand or point them out. They feel awkward enough already. Simply have people nearby greet them and welcome them.
  • Show genuine interest in visitors. Move beyond the “welcome” and take time to talk with newcomers. Engage them in conversation and find out about their family. Have the attitude “there you are” instead of “here I am.”
  • Have a guest reception after the service and invite guests to come meet the pastor, enjoy refreshments, etc.
  • Be just as friendly when guests leave as when they arrive. Have greeters at the doors thank people for coming as they leave. The smiling face they see when they leave is what they’ll remember the most.

3. Will My Kids Like It?

This is one of the biggest questions you must answer for families. It’s one of the main reasons people choose a church. Mark it down. If the kids aren’t happy, mom and dad won’t be happy!

Preparation:

  • Make children’s ministry a top priority at your church. This includes space, budget, volunteers, scheduling, resources, and staffing.
  • Make church fun for kids. Fun simply means engaging, age-appropriate, and relevant.  Listen and you’ll hear guest parents ask their children, “Did you have fun today?” Work hard to make sure the answer is a resounding “yes.”

4. Will My Kids Be Safe?

With today’s volatile culture, parents need to know their children will be safe in your care.

Preparation:

  • Have clear safety and security procedures in place. Then follow them. This includes background checks on all volunteers, no volunteers alone with a child, pickup tags, etc.
  • When parents check in, share the basic safety and security measures you have in place to keep their child safe.
  • Provide parents with a pager or other method of contact when they drop off their child. Then assure them you will contact them immediately if their child needs them.

5. Will I Be Able to Relate to Anyone?

Finally, visiting families wonder if they’ll be able to connect with anyone. Is there anyone in the same season of life? Anyone who will understand them? Anyone who will accept them where they are?

Preparation:

  • Have people from all generations as greeters. If a young couple walks in and sees only senior citizens greeting, they’ll get the impression that the church isn’t for people their age…and visa versa.
  • Your congregation should reflect the social, economic, and ethnic diversity of your community. People from any nationality should feel at home. A millionaire and a hundredaire should feel equally valued and loved.
  • Create a “hospital” culture instead of a “museum” culture. Convey that people don’t need to have their act completely together to be part of the church. Allow people to belong before they believe and start behaving.

What about you? Would advice would you offer for how to get guests to return to church and children’s ministry? Please share with your kidmin colleagues in the comments below!