While browsing some of the blogs I read each day I found an article about a woman's experience at visiting a church. She wrote that if she could have given that church one piece of advice it would have been, "Welcome me. Help me."
She pointed out the important truth that it take a lot of courage to visit a church you've never been to before. Where do you park? How do you enter the building? Where do you find the sanctuary...Sunday school...adult Bible classes?
She made the important point that it's nice to have a greeter who says, "Hello," as a guest walks through the door. But if the guest is trying to manage a couple of small children and looks as if she has her hands full, it is really beneficial if the greeter will ask the question, "How can I help you?"
In short, how a person is welcomed and helped will often make the difference in whether of not that person makes a return visit to that church.
The article caught my attention because I visited with two different families last week who want to become a part of our church family. Both families mentioned that one of the major reason that they kept coming back to LICL was the welcome they received when they first visited. Our greeters were friendly and helpful. They provided information about the church and asked if there were any questions. When these families came back the second week, the greeters remembered who they were and offered another warm welcome.
I realize how much easier this makes my job. When our greeter teams are doing their work well, folks form a positive first impression about the church. More often than not they will be ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is why we want them there in the first place.
I'm sure that we can do even better in meeting and greeting guests on Saturday and Sunday. Still, it makes me feel good when prospective members speak of how much they appreciate all the effort our greeter teams make at making people feel at home.