When I arrived in Arizona to “plant” a church, my assignment for the first five months was to visit area churches each Sunday. I found myself comparing each church as to the facilities, the greeting system, the order of worship and what was my impression in the first five minutes that I was at the church. It was a good experience that assisted me in considering how we should start our church with the core group.
Some of the things I noticed as I visited each church was how I was greeted, the informal welcome I received from other worshippers, the cleanliness of the facilities, how accessible the various facilities of the church were, and the ease of following the order of worship.
I would suggest that as elders it may be a good idea to not take for granted that what we are presently doing is the best way we can do things. Being a visitor at a church is quite different than being a member.
Visitors form an impression of a church within the first few minutes of arriving at the church. Some concerns they may have are how safe is the church for their children, how well are they welcomed, how well are they directed to various facilities that they will be using while at the church and how clean and well maintained are the facilities.
I believe one of the primary concerns of families are how safe are their children. Our denomination has an excellent “Safe Church Office” that is able to assist our churches to form guidelines for a “Safe Church”. To be able to assure visitors that your church has a “Safe Church Policy” is very important.
Yet another way to find out how well your church greets is to ask the visitors both those who remain and become members as well as those who only visit your church once or twice. As elders in the church, I would suggest you making contact with visitors is more effective than the pastor making that contact. Why? Most visitors expect the pastor to make that contact and as an elder it shows interest by the congregation. I also believe they will be more open in a conversation with an elder than with the pastor. I may be wrong but that would not be the first time.
I would be interested in knowing how as elders you participate in greeting first time visitors.
- If you are an elder how do you participate in greeting first time visitors?
- If you are not an elder what do you think about the idea of elders participating in greeting first time visitors?