LifeWay: 5 Popular Ways Churches Welcome Guests
Meeting the pastor after worship, being greeted at the entrance, and filling out cards to drop off during offering are the most common ways American churches welcome guests, according to a newly released report by LifeWay Research.
In a study titled “Greeters and Gifts: How Churches Welcome Guests” released Wednesday, the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay drew from a survey conducted last year of 1,000 Protestant pastors over the phone.
LifeWay found that 96 percent of pastors reported that their churches welcomed guests by giving them an opportunity to meet the pastor. The next most common way of welcoming guests was having greeters at the entrance, at 95 percent.
Behind that were having cards that guests are asked to complete (83 percent), having a central location where guests can learn more about the church (78 percent), and setting aside time during the service for regular attendees to welcome guests (69 percent).
“Virtually every church does something. Fewer than 1 percent admit making no effort to welcome guests,” noted LifeWay.
LifeWay also found that ways of welcoming guests can vary between small and large congregations, with different actions being taken.
“Those with an attendance of fewer than 50 are the most likely to say they have an opportunity for guests to meet the pastor after the service (98 percent) and ask guests to stand during the worship service (22 percent),” continued LifeWay.
“Meanwhile, pastors of churches with an attendance of more than 250 are the most likely to say they have cards for guests to complete (96 percent), have a central location for guests to learn more about the church (88 percent), periodically host information sessions for new people (85 percent), set aside a time for regular attenders to welcome guests (76 percent), have greeters in the parking lot (57 percent) and offer gifts to visitors (59 percent).”
Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, has emphasized the importance of church greeters.
In a 2015 entry on his website, Rainer spotlighted five important features of a healthy greeters’ ministry: training greeters, having alternating greeter teams, treating greeters’ ministry as a major ministry, having greeters visit other churches to compare experiences, and hold quarterly greeters meetings.
“I am asked regularly about the most effective ways to reach people in churches. Most churches have not made a significant commitment in training and resourcing greeters,” wrote Rainer in 2015.
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