A well-trained church greeter team is a huge help to visitors who are brand new to your church. As you continue to create new strategies to reach out to your community and invite them to get to know you, you will find that many of your new visitors have never been to church before—ever. Your church is like a foreign country to them! They don’t know the customs, they don’t know the language and they don’t know their way around. That is where a church greeter comes in.
A good greeter can make your visitors feel welcome, relaxed and more comfortable. And they are your best testimony! They show how wonderful and helpful your church is. With a properly trained team, your visitors feel like they have already started to make friends simply by walking through the door. How do you build this amazing team? Here are some ways to turn your volunteers into super greeters.
Cast a Vision for the Team
Because the greeting team is key to a visitor’s first impression, it’s important that each team member knows and understands their role and why they are so very important. Each Sunday, meet with the team and reiterate their role in helping guests connect to God and that while they are on duty, they should be focused on greeting and not socializing with each other or checking their phones. Make sure the team prays together that God’s love can shine through them.
Be Friendly, But Not Overbearing
Going to a new church can be a scary experience for some people, especially those who have never been before. While you want your greeters to be friendly, you don’t want new visitors to feel smothered or uncomfortable. Coach your volunteers to follow the lead of the guest and adjust their approach accordingly.
After the Pandemic, physical contact can be a touchy subject (pun intended) – so following the guests lead is key. Make sure your greeting team is equipped to wave, high five, fist or elbow bump, as well as handshake and hug. One way to make this choice easy, is to equip your team with Handheld Greeting Signs that feature friendly slogans. When your greeters are holding these signs there is no need to touch anyone!
Don’t Just Point the Way. Lead the Way.
Instead of just pointing the way, your church greeters should be willing and able to escort your guests around your church. They should also introduce visitors to the children’s ministry leaders and volunteers, show them where to get refreshments and help them find a seat. This means you will need a few volunteers willing to greet each Sunday—so that there is always someone at the door while other members of the team escort new people.
Dress the Part
Help your greeters stand out from the rest of your members. Provide them with a distinctive name tag, t-shirts or other item that shows your visitors they are helpers. Even if your church is more casual, make sure they dress in the absolute best representation of that particular style, so they look professional. Some churches supply shirts or smocks to their greeting teams so that they are easily recognizable (and no one has to worry about what to wear).
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
We all know that these days most churches also need to have a plan in place for how to deal with disruptions from mentally unstable people, potential violence and other issues that we wish were not part of our culture but are. Your greeters are on the front lines so they need to know the plan and what steps to take to keep your church and visitors safe.
Show Your Appreciation
One of the most important things to remember with any volunteer team is to thank them often and recognize their hard work. Greeters give up a lot of personal time to welcome new visitors. They have to show up earlier, leave later and always be “on” so that guests can have a positive experience. Give them a shout-out before services, thank them in your weekly bulletin, give them small tokens of appreciation…just let them know you love their help and that their work is helping to bring more families to Christ.