How much attention do you give the church welcome segment in your service?
If you are like most churches, the answer is little to none. I mean, it’s only a few minutes anyway. How much time should we spend planning something so short and insignificant? And isn’t a “welcome” just a transitional element so the band or choir can get ready?
You might be shocked to see how much time at Watermarke Church we spend evaluating the welcome. It is only a three-minute segment of our 60-minute service, but like every facet of our service, we desire it to be excellent, intentional and strategic.
We discuss every phrase we use. We evaluate the energy we bring. We consider how our words might be heard or interpreted by guests and non-Christians.
In some ways, communicating a three-minute welcome at Watermarke is as stressful as the 35-minute message!
Here’s a quick “welcome” in action: WATCH HERE. Come back after you watch so I can explain what you just saw!
The welcome is a difficult element in the service. Part of the problem is the allotted time. We typically allow three minutes. We are sticklers about time, so when a three-minute segment runs six minutes, it impacts ALL the programming in the church (the babies know exactly when the service was supposed to end!). The other issue is the amount of information we hope to communicate. There’s information for guests, announcements and more.
So how can you make your church welcome segment excellent, intentional, strategic and short? Here are a few tips from our process:
1. Manage the time in your church welcome.
Staying within the time limit is important. If we allow the welcome segment to run long, it pushes the entire service long. If that doesn’t bother you, just spend a week in the baby room. They know exactly when the hour is up, and their meltdowns are timed perfectly!
If you run long in the service, it hurts other ministries.
The overall church experience is only as good as the interdependent segments of your service.
2. Be intentional welcoming guests in your church welcome.
Remember, every week there are guests in your audience, and they probably do not know much about your church or what will happen in your service.
At Watermarke, every week I specifically welcome our guests, repeat our mission and tell them what to expect.
3. Preemptively answer their questions in your church welcome.
Most guests (and every man) wants to know: How long will this last? Don’t make them wonder the entire service—tell them up front.
People want to know who is leading singing. They want to know what the message will be about. They want to know who YOU are.
We try to anticipate their questions and provide answers up front so they can relax and enjoy the remainder of their time at Watermarke.
I’m AMAZED by the number of churches who don’t do this! Don’t be one of them! Tell people what to expect.