Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like an outsider? Ever walked into a room filled with strangers and felt completely invisibile? Or better yet, have you ever been to a new place and really needed to find the bathroom right away?
Imagine yourself going to church for the very first time and no one speaks to you at the front door. Imagine going through the entire service completely alone, only to leave having never been spoken to or touched. Imagine how lonely you could feel in a room full of strangers who all know what happens each week at church, and who all seem to know one another, yet no one makes the effort to greet you or offer basic information about the service.
Church folk, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The greeter ministry is vitally important for making that first impression a positive one. What is a greeter? What is the purpose of having a greeter ministry?
Greeters are church members that station themselves near the entrance and exit points of the building to greet people going in and out. They are not there to impress. Their main purpose is to warmly receive each person into God’s house. Whether those people are regular attenders or first time visitors, the greeters are to make certain that they are welcomed and their needs are met.
Is it neccesary for a church to develop an entire greeter ministry? Will it not suffice to station a couple of people near the door and call it quits? The needs of each church and the gifting of the church family will determine whether or not a fully developed greeter ministry is needed. For some churches, placing some friendly folks near the door is enough. For other congregations, more will be needed. Here is a simple suggestion: go the extra mile. Would you ever open the door to let someone in your home and never speak a word of welcome to them? Would you have a guest come into your livingroom and never offer them some type of refreshment, or direct them to the whereabouts of the restroom? For most of us, any guest that graces our door would be welcomed with kind words and a hug or handshake. They would be served food and drink and offered whatever they may need to make them comfortable. This is typical protocal for what we would do for a guest in our house. What, then, should we do for a guest in God’s house?
A well oiled greeter ministry might offer some of the following basic services:
- Greeters stationed outside the building to hold the door open for those coming and going.
- An order of service or church bulletin.
- A small gift for first time visitors.
- Directions to the nearest restroom.
- A tour of the facility if requested.
- Information regarding childcare and Bible study classes.
- Printed information regarding the weekly activities for the church.
- Ushers to accomodate late comers with adequate seating.
Who is knocking at your front door, Church? How will they be received? This is the importance of a greeter ministry done well: it has the potential to open the door of a human heart, not only the door of a building.