How to Make a Difference with a Little Hospitality

How to Make a Difference with a Little Hospitality

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My former Pastor used to always say that our church was unique. The bible study topics we chose certainly helped us to be unique. What made us unique was not the size of our building or the music coming from our choir. It wasn’t even the message from his sermons. He claimed that we were unique because we loved our guests like no other. Whenever he opened the doors of the church to invite people to join, he always said that no church will greet you and treat you like us. Our niche was that we treated our guests like family. Now, I haven’t been all over the world visiting other churches, so there may have been others out there saying and doing the same thing. But what I can say for sure, his main point was that hospitality was a top priority for us. If someone was a guest in our house, he or she would be properly greeted with a handshake or hug. We even had a special song for our guests after they introduced themselves to our congregation. After service, we offered a special guest reception where they met the Pastor and provided them with a gift as a token of our appreciation. The Pastor would say that our guests had the opportunity to choose any church to worship in and we are grateful and honored that they chose to be with us.

Now some say that is overkill and that we can make people uncomfortable by giving them so much attention. That may be true, but it beats the alternative, which is not getting acknowledged at all. Attending a church service as a first time visitor can be a daunting experience. It doesn’t take much to say “hello” or “welcome” when you see a new face in your congregation. Like the old saying goes, “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” Well, a Pastor never wants his church to be known as “unfriendly,” but sometimes one chance is all you get to make that lasting impression.

So here are some things to make your guests feel more welcome:
• Assign greeters at the door to welcome them
• Create an opportunity after service to shake hands and meet the Pastor
• If you have a small parking lot, create visitor parking so they aren’t inconvenienced
• If seating at your church is limited, make sure to find seats for late arriving guests
• Offer a small gift or token with the church information on it

These are just a few tips, but I’m sure there are others. How do you keep your church’s hospitality fresh and responsive?